Ireland have named an unchanged starting XV for Saturday’s RBS 6 Nations clash with Italy at the Aviva Stadium (KO 1.30pm).
Jonathan Sexton has made a full recovery from the thigh muscle injury sustained before the postponed match against France and starts at fly-half.
Centre Gordon D’Arcy will win his 65th cap for Ireland having first been capped against Romania in 1999. The uncapped Peter O’Mahony is included on the bench.
The fixture launches a gruelling schedule of four games in as many weeks as Ireland suffer the consequences of the aborted showdown at the Stade de France 10 days ago.
Once Italy have been negotiated, they must relocate to Paris on March 4 before preparing for a six-day turnaround to face Scotland.
They conclude their championship against England at Twickenham on March 17.
“We were tempted to make changes to the team. We had a long discussion about it,” coach Declan Kidney said.
“But this team was good enough to play France so it’s good enough to play against Italy as well.
“We need to approach this game by game, rather than as a block of four fixtures, and that’s what we’re doing.”
Ireland have lost their last three matches at the Aviva Stadium but have never succumbed to Italy in the Six Nations.
However, last season they required a last-gasp drop-goal from Ronan O’Gara to escape the Stadio Flaminio with a 13-11 victory.
Italy have lost their opening two matches of the championship, away to France and at home to England.
IRELAND Team & Replacements (v Italy, 2012 RBS 6 Nations Championship, Aviva Stadium, Saturday, February 25, kick-off 1.30pm):
15 - Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster)
14 - Tommy Bowe (Ospreys)
13 - Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster)
12 - Gordon D'Arcy (Lansdowne/Leinster)
11 - Andrew Trimble (Ballymena/Ulster)
10 - Jonathan Sexton (St. Mary's College/Leinster)
9 - Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster)
1 - Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster)
2 - Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster)
3 - Mike Ross (Clontarf/Leinster)
4 - Donncha O'Callaghan (Cork Constitution/Munster)
5 - Paul O'Connell (Young Munster/Munster) (capt)
6 - Stephen Ferris (Dungannon/Ulster)
7 - Sean O'Brien (Clontarf/Leinster)
8 - Jamie Heaslip (Naas/Leinster)
16 - Sean Cronin (St. Mary's College/Leinster)
17 - Tom Court (Malone/Ulster)
18 - Donnacha Ryan (Shannon/Munster)
19 - Peter O'Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster) *
20 - Eoin Reddan (Lansdowne/Leinster)
21 - Ronan O'Gara (Cork Constitution/Munster)
22 - Fergus McFadden (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
* Denotes uncapped player