Published Tuesday, 15 October 2013
Northern Ireland's Steven Davis celebrates scoring against Israel (© Presseye)
The NI captain lashed home a powerful effort with 18 minutes left, responding to Eden Ben Basat's opener just before the break, on Tuesday night.
The goal earned high praise from O'Neill.
"It was a good piece of play and a good goal. I'm delighted for Steven because it was a great finish," he said.
"It's difficult as a manager when you're not winning games but it's not easy being captain either and he's handled himself very well."
The draw came after successive defeats to Portugal, Luxembourg and Azerbaijan.
It means Northern Ireland finished the campaign second from bottom in group F.
There were no fewer than six changes, half of which were unavoidable due to suspensions for Jonny Evans, Gareth McAuley and Oliver Norwood.
Bradford's Rory McArdle was the main beneficiary of those absences, handed a first competitive start alongside Craig Cathcart at centre-half.
O'Neill also left out another of his senior men in Chris Brunt - stood down alongside Shane Ferguson and Jamie Ward, while Chris Baird and Sammy Clingan returned in midfield.
It was a positive at the end of a few negatives but we have to look back on the group as a whole and know we could have done better than we have.
Ben Basat headed home from eight yards for the hosts, leaving Carroll rightly upset to see the striker nip between McArdle and Cathcart in order to do so.
The equaliser came in 72 minute after Ward spotted the well-placed Davis arriving at the edge of the area to score his fifth international goal.
O'Neill was a relieved man at the end of the match.
"It was a good result, let's be honest," said the manager who is due to resume contract talks with the IFA later this month.
"I felt the players did extremely well in the second half.
"I think a draw was the least we deserved given the way we played.
"Israel came and stole a win in Belfast so it would have been nice to steal one back here."
The former Shamrock Rovers boss added: "We're here without the likes of (Aaron) Hughes, Evans, McAuley and (Oliver) Norwood but the players who came in were excellent."
"McArdle did a great job and Craig has been excellent for me whenever I've needed him in the campaign.
"Chris Baird and Sammy Clingan were excellent in the middle of the park as well."
Group leaders Russia secured their place at next summer's World Cup finals one point ahead of Portugal, who had to settle for a play-off spot.
© UTV News