In terms of players earning Irish caps the Connacht front row has not been well represented, particularly at prop.

Many of the best players to line out in the provinces front row arguably had their best days at other provinces, particularly at hooker.

That, if anything, makes this selection more difficult.

Loosehead Prop

Starting at loosehead, Ronan Loughney, Brett Wilkinson and Denis Buckley are the three candidates.

Loughney and Buckley were both Pro12 winners during the province's finest hour, Loughney also earned international recognition. Wilkinson, like the others, is a Connacht centurion. A tough decision but as a player twice selected to the Pro12 Dream Team with 178 caps and counting I'll go for Denis Buckley, who must be one of the unluckiest players not to have been capped in recent seasons.

Loosehead candidates: Denis Buckley, Ronan Loughney, Brett Wilkinson

RTÉ selection: Denis Buckley

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Selection at Hooker is complicated by the fact that Jerry Flannery has already been selected in the Munster team, likewise Sean Cronin in the Leinster team. On that basis both are excluded from selection.

Still the competition is strong with Bernard Jackman, Adrian Flavin, John Fogarty and Tom McCartney the leading contenders.

Again, Fogarty and Jackman arguably had better days elsewhere. Ultimately, I would opt for Bernard Jackman for selection, over Tom McCartney, by the narrowest of margins.

The fact that Jackman was unlucky to miss out on Leinster selection may have played a part in my thinking.

Hooker candidates: John Fogarty, Bernard Jackman, Tom McCartney

RTÉ selection: Bernard Jackman

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At tighthead Finlay Bealham, Nathan White and Rodney Ah You make up the candidates list. All three are capped by Ireland. White was highly rated by Joe Schmidt, winning 13 caps and was probably the best scrummager of the trio but only made 58 appearances for Connacht over four seasons.

Rodney Ah You had the most athletic potential but I would give the nod to Finlay Bealham as the best hybrid of the three. His versatility is another string to his bow.

Tighthead candidates: Rodney Ah You, Finlay Bealham, Nathan White

RTÉ selection: Finlay Bealham

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