Ruaidhri O’Connor rates the best current Irish players but there’s no disputing who is top of the charts
1. Johnny Sexton
Distilling this campaign into one moment is an impossible job, but when it comes to the Reelin' in the Years of 2018, Sexton's drop goal in Paris is undoubtedly the incident that sums up the season.
Although the 41-phase move was a team effort, the out-half superbly conducted the orchestra, taking risks to push his team into position before holding his nerve to nail a superb kick.
Sexton drove Leinster back to the top of the European tree and then repeated the trick with an excellent display in the Guinness PRO14 final.
For Ireland, he was on top of his game all season and, while he didn't get a try, there was rarely a moment of good Irish play that didn't have his fingerprints all over it.
At 32, he was still going strong at the death as he led the team to a series win in Australia.
In a competitive field, Sexton stands tall as Leinster and Ireland's outstanding performer.
2. Conor Murray
Brian O'Driscoll recently said he regards Murray as Ireland's most important player and the scrum-half has delivered consistent excellence all season.
Although he never hit the all-round heights of his sensational Chicago display, his performances were consistently of a high standard for club and country.
Certainly, Joe Schmidt appears to cherish his presence in the side, as Kieran Marmion and John Cooney found out to their cost on tour as Murray started all three games - he started 10 of Ireland's 11 games this season.
With Munster he was a driving force in the run to the semi-finals and will have regrets about his performance in Bordeaux. His medal haul with Ireland helps ease the disappointment.
3. Tadhg Furlong
Despite a heavy workload with the Lions last season, the Wexford native not only confirmed his status as the world's leading tighthead prop, he also put further distance between himself and his rivals.
Superb in the set-piece, it is the 25-year-old's work around the park, his combination of power, fitness and ball-skills that makes him stand out from the crowd.
Excellent for Leinster as they overpowered a succession of opponents, it was his work for Ireland that marked him out. Deft pass in the build-up to CJ Stander's try in Twickenham was a highlight, as was his carrying in Australia and his super second-Test try was his first in international rugby.
4. Keith Earls
The Players' Player of the Year enjoyed his best season in a fine professional career with a series of superb performances for Munster and Ireland.
Despite a couple of ill-timed injuries, Earls was a key contributor to the November clean-sweep, the Six Nations success and Munster's run to the semi-finals in both competitions.
His Ireland team-mates waxed lyrical about his influence behind the scenes, while his hard work and never-say-die spirit was encapsulated in his brilliant tackle against Italy and his superb catch in the build-up to that drop goal in Paris.
5. James Ryan
Virtually unknown in September, Ryan is among the world's best second-rows.
The 21-year-old's emergence as a powerhouse of the Leinster and Irish engine room is a big factor in the successful campaign and it was notable he played all 240 minutes in Australia.
Strong in the carry, a superb tackler and a phenomenal workrate, he is a dream for his coaches and has put his injury issues behind him with a succession of impressive performances.
After a number of seasons where injury prevented him from hitting the heights of his early years, this was a return to form from Healy, who was an integral player for province and country. One of only two players to have played in all 11 of Ireland's matches.
7. Dan Leavy
Ireland missed his physical capabilities against the Wallabies. His work-rate is phenomenal, his contact work is superb and he has quickly become an important player for Leinster and Ireland.
That he was voted Leinster's Player of the Year by his peers speaks volumes.
8. CJ Stander
Like Healy he played in every game and he was still driving the team forward in the final moments of the last game.
Stander's workrate continues to impress and he rarely takes a backwards step as he continues to add nuance to his game.
9. Jacob Stockdale
A record-breaker in the Six Nations, the big question for this 21-year-old winger is how does he follow a sensational breakout year. Ten tries in nine Tests was a remarkable return.
Bundee Aki, left, and Robbie Henshaw of Ireland celebrate second test win
14. Bundee Aki
Has not been able to have the kind of attacking impact on the Irish side that he has with Connacht, but his powerful contribution cannot be overlooked.
15. Iain Henderson
Injury hampered his run-in, but Henderson was one of the main men for Ireland during the Six Nations and his increased confidence when calling lineouts has added to his importance. Ulster's most valuable player.
16. Garry Ringrose
Injury affected his early season involvement, but he ade a big impact when he came into the Ireland team midway through the Six Nations and starred in Leinster's run to the double.
17. Tadhg Beirne
One of the stars of the European season who might have made more of an international impact if he hadn't been playing in Wales.
Finally made his debut in Australia and looked at home.
A scorer of great tries, he dominated the interprovincial games and ended up with an important role as a replacement in the Grand Slam and Australia series win, while he started the Champions Cup and PRO14 final victories.
19. Devin Toner
Lost his starting place during the Six Nations, but finished strong for Leinster and then had an excellent tour of Australia.
20. Donnacha Ryan
No longer in Ireland contention, but superb for Racing in their run to the Champions Cup final.
21. Rory Best
Captained Ireland to one of their greatest seasons, but was rarely a standout performer and injury limited his involvement at Ulster. At 35, he's starting to show his age.
22. James Lowe
The most entertaining player in Irish rugby, he'd be higher up the list if the rules had not worked against his involvement in the European final. A breath of fresh air.
Won't be happy with how it ended in Australia, but Cronin was a key man for Leinster who made a big contribution to the Grand Slam effort after missing out on November selection.
29. Rhys Marshall
Another import whose skills, energy and set-piece work were important contributions to Munster's run to the semi-finals.
30. Isa Nacewa
Not as influential as he has been in previous years as the years took their toll, but Leinster still found a way of getting him on to the pitch for the biggest days and he scored the winning penalty in Bilbao.
31. Jordi Murphy
Ulster-bound No 8 was one of the biggest contributors to Leinster's success and battled his way on to the Ireland bench.
32. Andrew Porter
Another breakout performer who played a part off the bench in Leinster and Ireland's wins. Powerful and skilful, he'll only get better.
33. Luke McGrath
Remains in a battle for the back-up Ireland No 9 jersey, but an important player for Leinster who helps control the tempo and complements Sexton.
34. Jack Conan
Finished with his best performance for Ireland and was a big part of Leinster's success - injury saw him lose his starting spot for the Champions Cup final.
35. Andrew Conway
Scorer of one of the tries of the season, excellent for Munster and he might have seen more Ireland minutes had it not been for injuries.