Three Ireland players who impressed this autumn

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Cian Healy

The Leinster man played his part in one of the year's best Tests, and certainly the pick of the autumn fixtures, as Ireland were seconds away from securing their first-ever win against New Zealand. Cian Healy produced an unforgiving first-half performance as the Irish pack dominated the All Blacks to secure an early 19-0 lead before the world champions responded, in typically zealous fashion. Healy, who was an early injury casualty in the triumphant British and Irish Lions tour in Australia this summer, proved a real nuisance at the breakdown and carried well in the Aviva clash.

Sean O'Brien

Sean O'Brien was another member of the Lions squad this summer but the Leinster flanker played a limited role against the Wallabies. The Leinster man was a key part of an outstanding back row performance alongside Jamie Heaslip and Peter O'Mahony in that memorable New Zealand clash. The 24-year-old held his own against All Blacks captain Richie McCaw which helped Ireland get the upper-hand in the contest. He played a big part in Rory Best's opening try, too.

Peter O'Mahony

In what is a reoccurring forwards theme, O'Mahony was another standout performer in the 24-22 loss to the All Blacks. However, the Munster skipper particularly shone in the 40-9 win against Samoa. The 24-year-old was a real force at the breakdown and notched a try from a rolling maul to help Joe Schmidt kick-start his reign as Ireland head coach in style in front of a muted Aviva Stadium.

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