Leinster's Girvan Dempsey has edged out Geordan Murphy for the Ireland full-back jersey and will win his 70th Test cap in Sunday's RBS 6 Nations opener against Wales.
Ireland head coach Eddie O'Sullivan has made five changes from the first-string team that beat Australia so impressively last November.
With Shane Horgan out injured, Ulster's Andrew Trimble was preferred to Tommy Bowe on the right wing with Denis Hickie continuing in the number 11 jersey.
Peter Stringer returns to the side at scrum-half with Isaac Boss on the bench while Simon Easterby won a tight selection call to start ahead of Neil Best at blind-side flanker.
Marcus Horan will pack down at loose-head prop and Rory Best continues at hooker with Jerry Flannery, who missed the autumn internationals with a shoulder injury, named on the bench.
Malcolm O'Kelly was not considered because of a knee injury, allowing Munster lock Mick O'Driscoll to earn a spot among the replacements.
O'Sullivan explained he had tough decisions to make in the back three, particularly considering Murphy's form for Leicester against Munster in the European Cup.
He said: "There were a few tight calls in there. Obviously (selecting Easterby at) number six was a tight call and choosing the final back three was a tight call. Geordan Murphy is not far away.
"Girvan has been very, very good. His form over Christmas has been excellent. Denis' form has been excellent. It was a tough call on the other wing between Andrew and Geordan.
"Geordan is more of an elusive runner and Andrew is more of a power runner. It was just about getting the back three package together to go after Wales."
Easterby has been in prime form for European Cup quarter-finalists Llanelli and O'Sullivan revealed the fact he plays his club rugby in Wales was a significant factor in his selection ahead of Neil Best.
"I think Simon has just got the edge at the moment. It was a form selection. It was the other way round in the autumn," said O'Sullivan.
"He is an established lineout jumper, he has been in good form and the fact we are playing Wales was a factor as well.
"It comes down to minutiae when you are talking about players of that calibre. Somebody has to make that decision."
Ireland head into the championship as favourites to win their first title since 1985 after autumn wins over South Africa and the Wallabies.
England Under-20s head coach Martin Haag was full of praise for his World Rugby Under-20 Championship-winning side after Harry Mallinder inspired them to a 45-21 win over their Irish counterparts and a third title in four years.