A huge year for the women's team begins with their Six Nations opener against Scotland at Glasgow's Broadwood Stadium at 6.35pm.
Ireland will also host the World Cup this summer.
Head-coach Tom Tierney has handed a debut to Leinster scrum-half Ailsa Hughes this evening and four more players could win their first caps from the bench.
Captain Niamh Briggs misses the game through injury - and the full back says they can't afford to look beyond the Six Nations.
“It is two separate competitions,” she reminded fans. “It is going to be that how we prepare for one is almost springboarding how we prepare for the second one.
“It’s also important to know that playing well in the Six Nations, and maybe go and win it, doesn’t necessarily guarantee what’s going to happen in August.”
Speaking ahead of the opening clash, Tierney said: "The first game of the Six Nations is always a big challenge, as it's very difficult to know what the opposition are going to throw at you.
"Scotland, in front of their home crowd, will be looking to give their fans something to get excited about, so it's really important that we go into the game fully focused.
"There's some new caps in the side for this Friday, and those players have performed really well in the camps that we've had over the previous number of weeks, so now it's their chance to transfer what they've been doing in training into the international arena.
"It's very exciting that all the matches in this year's Championship will be broadcast live, so we hope everyone will tune in (to RTE 2) on Friday evening to watch the game."