19/03/02.Munster’s John Kelly will win his first senior cap when Ireland play Italy in the Lloyds TSB Six Nations game at Lansdowne Road (2pm) on Saturday.
The versatile Kelly (pictured) is rewarded for his consistency and versatility throughout the season for Munster and the Ireland A side. With Kevin Maggs ruled out through injury, Shane Horgan moves from the wing to partner Brian O’Driscoll in the centre while Gary Longwell is preferred to Paul O’Connell as second row partner for Malcolm O’Kelly.
Despite playing for his club at the weekend Keith Wood was not considerd and that affords Shane Byrne the opportunity to start on Saturday with Frank Sheahan on the bench while Eric Miller gives way at number 6 to Simon Easterby.
In the absence of Wood, and with Mick Galwey who captained the side in the three previous outings dropped, David Humphreys will lead the side against the Italians. Ireland.Girvan Dempsey (Leinster/Terenure College); John Kelly (Munster/Cork Constitution), Brian O’Driscoll Leinster/Blackrock College), Shane Horgan (Leinster/Lansdowne), Denis Hickie (Leinster/St. Mary’s College); David Humphreys capt (Ulster/Dungannon)
Peter Stringer (Munster/Shannon); Peter Clohessy (Munster/Young Munster), Shane Byrne (Leinster/Blackrock College), John Hayes (Munster/Shannon); Gary Longwell (Ulster/Ballymena), Malcolm O’Kelly (Leinster/St. Mary’s College); Simon Easterby (Llanelli), David Wallace (Munster/Garryowen), Anthony Foley (Munster/Shannon).
Replacements: Frank Sheahan (Munster/Cork Constitution), Paul Wallace (Leinster/Blackrock College), Paul O’Connell (Munster/Young Munster), Eric Miller (Leinster/Terenure College), Guy Easterby (Llanelli), Ronan O’Gara (Munster/Cork Constitution), Tyrone Howe (Ulster/Dungannon).