This season's squad has had half a dozen arduous weekend training camps over the last four months and has remained undefeated through a successful set of warm-up games against Irish Colleges (13-12), a UCD XV (38-0) and an Ulster Academy XV (31-0) as well as a conditioned match against Ireland Schools.
Competition for places in the team has been intense and manager John McKibbin paid tribute to the commitment and work that all the players in the squad had put in, both those fortunate to be selected and those not.
"Selection has been very difficult as we have been working with a squad of approximately 30 players, all of whom have impressed both during sessions and in the warm-up games. I can honestly say that all have fronted up and made strong cases to be picked," he said.
"Unfortunately coaches Charlie McAleese and Bobby Byrne can only pick fifteen on a team and the following players will represent Ireland on Saturday."
The team is captained by Peter O'Mahoney, who was also skipper of the Ireland Schools team last season. The side also includes Ciaran Ruddock in the second row, son of former Leinster and Wales head coach Mike Ruddock who is currently in charge of Premiership side Worcester.
Also amongst the replacements are the winning schools team captains from Ulster and Leinster this year, Adam Macklin (Methody College) and Thomas Sexton (Belvedere College).
IRELAND UNDER-19 TEAM & REPLACEMENTS (v Italy U-19, Malahide RFC, Saturday, March 22, 2008, kick-off 11.00am):
15 - David McIlwaine (Queen's University/Ulster)
14 - Johnny Shiels (Coleraine AI/Ulster)
13 - Gary Foley (CBC Monkstown/Leinster)
12 - Shane Gahan (Lansdowne/Leinster)
11 - Kyle Kirkpatrick (Ards/Ulster)
10 - Andrew Burke (Crescent College Limerick/Munster)
9 - Conor Murray (Young Munster/Munster)
1 - Gavin Duffy (UCC/Munster)
2 - David McGregor (Ballynahinch/Ulster)
3 - Alan Whitten (Instonians/Ulster)
4 - Ciaran Ruddock (Swansea/Exiles)
5 - Mark Flanagan (UCD/Leinster)
6 - Peter O'Mahoney (PBC Cork/Munster) (capt)
7 - Sean Dougall (Barnard Castle/Leeds Carnegie)
8 - Michael Noone (CBC Monkstown/Leinster)
16 - Jack McGrath (St. Mary's College/Leinster)
17 - Adam Macklin (Methody College/Ulster)
18 - Thomas Sexton (Belvedere College/Leinster)
19 - Shane Grannell (CBC Monkstown/Leinster)
20 - Matt Healy (Lansdowne/Leinster)
21 - Ian McKinley (St. Columba's College/Leinster)
22 - David Funston (City of Derry/Ulster)
Manager - John McKibbin
Head Coach - Charlie McAleese
Forwards Coach - Bobby Byrne
Conditioning Coach - Ray Egan
Physiotherapist - Shane Collins
Doctor - Tim O'Flanagan
Technical Analyst - Eoin Toolan
Resources - Martin Searson