Declan Kidney has included four uncapped player in the Ireland team to play the Barbarians in Friday’s MasterCard Challenge match at Thomond Park (kick-off 7.45pm).
Second rows Ed O’Donoghue and Dan Tuohy will make their first senior appearances for Ireland in the uncapped match. They are joined up front by their Ulster colleague Chris Henry.
Henry forms a back row trio with Connacht captain John Muldoon and Munster’s Niall Ronan who was called into the squad earlier this week.
Marcus Horan will start alongside Sean Cronin and Tony Buckley in the front row.
In the back-line, Leinster’s Fergus McFadden is the only uncapped player named in an experienced line-up, with Ronan O’Gara, who will captain the side, and Peter Stringer forming the half-back partnership.
Gavin Duffy comes into the squad and will partner McFadden in the centre with Rob Kearney, Shane Horgan and Andrew Trimble making up the back-three.
Commenting on the team selection, Ireland head coach Declan Kidney said: “Dan played for the ‘A’ team against England Saxons and for the Ireland Wolfhounds against Scotland ‘A’ the following week, in the back row and second row positions. Ed (O’Donoghue) subbed in that one.
“This is their opportunity to come through. Whether they would have got selected or not, with other bangs and knocks, who knows?
“But if you look at the way the Ulster lineout and scrum has gone this season, they have won all their own ball, they’ve scrummaged strongly and won plenty of ball for their backs. This is another step-up for them now.
“You don’t really pick by province – you see who is playing well – but I do think it is no coincidence with how well Connacht were playing that players rise up.
“Sean (Cronin) has been in with us, he played in the Churchill Cup last year, as did John Muldoon, and Gavin Duffy was probably our best back when we were in Canada and America for the last tour.
“He has some excellent games against Bourgoin and Toulon in the Amlin Challenge Cup recently, and this is just reward for him.”
Duffy is the only player involved who is not going on the summer tour, as Kidney explained.
“Gavin, like Niall Ronan, when we got together last week we brought in extra players for training and when there were injuries, they were the guys who stepped in,” he explained.
“When Kevin McLaughlin picked up an injury, Niall stepped in. We have a few bangs and knocks this week, and it’s just reward for Gavin for having done all the hard work.
“Technically he was on holiday two weeks ago, we gave him a call, he was delighted to answer it and came in and has been training away, so I’m delighted to see him play.”
IRELAND TEAM & REPLACEMENTS (v Barbarians, MasterCard Challenge, Thomond Park, Friday, June 4, kick-off 7.45pm):
15 – Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster)
14 – Shane Horgan (Boyne/Leinster)
13 – Gavin Duffy (Galwegians/Connacht)
12 – Fergus McFadden (Old Belvedere/Leinster)*
11 – Andrew Trimble (Ballymena/Ulster)
10 – Ronan O’Gara (Cork Constitution/Munster) (capt)
9 – Peter Stringer (Shannon/Munster)
1 – Marcus Horan (Shannon/Munster)
2 – Sean Cronin (Buccaneers/Connacht)
3 – Tony Buckley (Shannon/Munster)
4 – Ed O’Donoghue (Ballynahinch/Ulster)*
5 – Dan Tuohy (Ballymena/Ulster)*
6 – John Muldoon (Galwegians/Connacht)
7 – Niall Ronan (Shannon/Munster)
8 – Chris Henry (Ballymena/Ulster)*
17 – Tom Court (Malone/Ulster)
18 – Mick O’Driscoll (Cork Constitution/Munster)
19 – David Wallace (Garryowen/Munster)
20 – Tomas O’Leary (Dolphin/Munster)
21 – Jonathan Sexton (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
22 – Paddy Wallace (Ballymena/Ulster)