Experienced lock Malcolm O'Kelly believes Ireland could be on the verge of something special with the fine array of young talent in the squad to tour New Zealand and Australia.
O’Kelly was involved as Ireland, minus Munster’s European Cup winners, warmed up for the challenges ahead south of the equator with a 39-14 victory against the Barbarians.
Stand-in captain Shane Horgan touched down twice while rising stars Tommy Bowe and Jamie Heaslip also crossed at Kingsholm.
"We've had a mixed season but we've got good young players, the crux of the back-line was there and they looked devastating,” O’Kelly told irishrugby.ie.
"They were up in the faces of the opposition and they were pouncing on every loose ball and some of the young guys really shone."