A trio of Ulster players will make their senior Ireland debuts this Friday.
Chris Henry, Dan Tuohy and Ed O'Donoghue have all been named in Declan Kidney’s starting XV for the non-cap clash with the Barbarians in Limerick.
Henry has been in superb form for his province this season, playing in 15 of Ulster’s 18 Magners League games and skippering the side in the absence of Rory Best.
The 25-year-old No8 was voted Magners Personality of the Year, the Magners League Rugby Writers' Player of the Year and the Ulster Rugby Supporters Club Outstanding Player of the Season at Ulster’s end-of-year dinner last month.
Henry’s reward for his efforts during what has been a tough domestic campaign is a spot in the Ireland back row alongside Munster’s Niall Ronan and Connacht’s John Muldoon.
Muldoon has been a standout performer for the Magners League’s bottom side, regularly producing brilliant individual displays despite the Galway outfit losing 14 of their 18 fixtures.
Tuohy and O'Donoghue form a new-look second-row partnership for the Irish, replacing Munster duo Paul O’Connell and Donncha O’Callaghan who are among a number of high-profile stars rested for Friday’s Thomond Park encounter.
Leinster centre Fergus McFadden also makes his international debut in a side captained by Munster fly-half Ronan O’Gara.
Connacht’s Sean Cronin joins Munster duo Tony Buckley and Marcus Horan in the front row, while O’Gara will be fed by Peter Stringer, his long-term half-back partner with club and country before the emergence of Tomas O’Leary.
Three Leinster players in Rob Kearney, Shane Horgan and McFadden will have an opportunity to get over their Magners League Grand Final defeat to the Ospreys from the start, with clubmate Jonathan Sexton named on a replacements bench that also features Jerry Flannery, David Wallace and O’Leary.
Ireland skipper Brian O’Driscoll and Lions leader O’Connell are among those not involved ahead of the tour Down Under on which Kidney’s men will face the All Blacks in New Plymouth on June12 before taking on the New Zealand Maori and then Australia on June 19 and 26 respectively.
Ireland squad vs Barbrians, Thomond Park, Friday (7.45pm)
15 R Kearney (Leinster)
14 S Horgan (Leinster)
13 G Duffy (Connacht)
12 F McFadden (Leinster)
11 A Trimble (Ulster)
10 R O'Gara (Munster) (captain)
9 P Stringer (Munster)
1 M Horan (Munster)
2 S Cronin (Connacht)
3 T Buckley (Munster)
4 E O'Donoghue (Ulster)
5 D Tuohy (Ulster)
6 J Muldoon (Connacht)
7 N Ronan (Munster)
8 C Henry (Ulster)
16 J Flannery (Munster)
17 T Court (Ulster)
18 M O'Driscoll (Munster)
19 D Wallace (Munster)
20 T O'Leary (Munster)
21 J Sexton (Leinster)
22 P Wallace (Ulster)