Ireland's strengthen and condition coach Kane Daniels (left) and two squad members are swooped on by a plover yesterday.
Ireland's strengthen and condition coach Kane Daniels (left) and two squad members are swooped on by a plover yesterday. Anna Rogers

Angry bird dive-bombs the Irish

FEATHERED opposition interrupted Ireland's Rugby League World Cup squad's training session in the wet at Stan Williams Park in Cairns.

An aggressive plover had players ducking for cover, including Australia-born fullback Shannon McDonnell, who did his best to wave away the angry bird.

"I tried to warn the boys about them. It was a bit funny. I didn't want to tell the fellas at first, send them over there and say: 'Do your best'," he said.

McDonnell, who played 60 NRL games and 73 English Super League matches before returning to play in the NSW country rugby league for Camden this season, said Ireland was a "proud team" out to impress.

"They've kept the bulk of the squad that's been playing together the last few years," he said.

"We've got a good, tough forward pack, skilful backs and we're just a proud team who plays for each other."

McDonnell's plover encounter is the closest he wants to get to injury after missing the past two opportunities to play in the World Cup.

The 30-year-old qualifies for the No.7 nation in the world through his mother Marie, who grew up in the Irish capital Dublin.

News Corp Australia

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