Irish team - and our dreams - take flight to Rugby World Cup
THE 31-man Irish rugby squad were last night in their Welsh base ahead of their bid for World Cup glory.
Team captain Paul O'Connell led the squad on their flight across the Irish Sea yesterday from Dublin Airport to Cardiff ahead of their first game this weekend.
The players were in high spirits as they boarded the plane for the World Cup journey which they hope won't end until October 31 - when the World Cup final takes place in London.
The event will be O'Connell's final tournament in a green jersey.
Paying tribute to his teammates, the 35-year-old said they had "worked incredibly hard over the past 10 weeks".
"We are excited about the journey ahead. The group is very tight, they are very excited," he said last night.
"We still had two tough training days on Monday and Tuesday.
"But everybody has come through that now and everybody is just excited to get going."
The team are accompanied by a squad of 20 coaches and IRFU officials.
England and Fiji will kick off the proceedings on Friday in Twickenham.
Ireland take on Canada in their first match in Cardiff on Saturday afternoon.
Other group clashes for the Irish team over the next four weekends includes matches against Romania, Italy and France.
Their last bid for the Webb Ellis Cup ended in tears in New Zealand, when they were beaten by Wales in the 2011 quarter-finals.