The Poles were comfortably ahead at 2-0 with two minutes left after goals from Mariusz Lewandowski and Gurreiro Roger.
However, that was not the end of the scoring as Keith Andrews marked his Ireland debut with a goal in stoppage time.
Mariusz Lewandowski put Poland, roared on by their fans, some of whom now live in the Republic, ahead as early as the third minute when he rose above Manchester United's John O'Shea to head past Newcastle goalkeeper Shay Given.
Damien Duff twice nearly equalised before half-time and the Republic paid for those misses two minutes into the second-half when Roger fired home.
Roger though then missed a great opportunity to make it 3-0 when he stabbed the ball wide of the post.
It didn't look as if it would prove that significant an error until, with time running out, Shane Long was brought down in the box and Hunt made no mistake from the spot.
But just a minute later Robert Lewandowski broke Irish hearts with a superb 25-yard strike that gave Given no chance.
There was, however, still time for Andrews to beat Lukasz Fabianksi in the Poland goal and had Caleb Folan not miskicked when well-placed, Ireland might even have preserved their veteran Italian boss's record.