Joining Cronin is scrum half Cathal Sheridan, another late inclusion last season, and development hooker Duncan Casey. The uncapped Casey was named in last year's panel but like Cronin and Sheridan has yet to make an appearance at European level.
Fellow development hooker Niall Scannell has also been named, who is included in his first Heineken Cup squad along with CJ Stander, Ronan O'Mahony, Alan Cotter and Andrew Conway.
With the competition for places peaking in the last few weeks Head Coach Rob Penney's omission in the back row was forced in the end with a knee injury to Tommy O'Donnell who could be unavailable for up to three months.
Other notable absentees from the 38 man squad are Luke O'Dea who is recovering from a wrist injury and Gerhard van den Heever, the South African who is set to join Munster at the conclusion of the Currie Cup in November, subject to being granted a work permit.
Munster may register up to two additional players during the pool stage, each to replace a player previously registered, and if two additional players are selected one such player must be front row cover.
Munster Heineken Cup Squad: Denis Hurley, Felix Jones, Simon Zebo, Keith Earls, Ronan O'Mahony, James Downey, Johne Murphy, Casey Laulala Ivan Dineen, Andrew Conway, Ian Keatley, JJ Hanrahan, Conor Murray, Cathal Sheridan, Duncan Williams.
Stephen Archer, BJ Botha, Alan Cotter, James Cronin, Dave Kilcoyne, John Ryan, Niall Scannell, Duncan Casey, Mike Sherry, Damien Varley, Dave Foley, Billy Holland, Ian Nagle, Dave O'Callaghan, Donncha O'Callaghan, Paul O'Connell, Donnacha Ryan, Paddy Butler, Sean Dougall, Peter O'Mahony, Niall Ronan, CJ Stander, James Coughlan.