Peter O'Mahony has vowed Ireland will not let Canada enforcer Jamie Cudmore turn Saturday's World Cup opener into a series of sideshow skirmishes.

Ireland will afford Canada captain Cudmore "a huge amount of respect" at the Millennium Stadium, but are determined not to be drawn into any off-the-ball battles.

Evergreen Clermont lock Cudmore was sent off and then banned for five weeks and Paul O'Connell sin-binned in a feisty fracas in Munster's 23-18 Heineken Cup victory in 2008.

Munster captain O'Mahony anticipates a gritty battle with Canada in the Pool D opener, but is adamant Ireland can keep their cool.

"Look it's something that we don't have any interest in," said O'Mahony of Cudmore's ability to wind up opponents.

"You've seen it over the last two years. I think it's pretty much gone out of the game of rugby at this stage, there's too much going on, there's too much at stake to be worried about little things like that.

"We'll worry about implementing our gameplan, and stopping a very good Canadian side.

"What we have to worry about is doing our homework, putting that to bed and then worrying about our performance and implementing our gameplan.

"I don't think we can focus on niggle or that kind of thing and to be fair I don't think that's going to happen. Both teams will have too much at stake and too much to worry about, and will be purely focused on the match.

"I'm not 100% sure how many caps he has for Clermont but he has a high number of first-class games under his belt, he's a very experienced player.

"Hugely physical, I've played against him a couple of times and he really drives Clermont's pack. He's a real go-to guy for them and I'd imagine he's the same for Canada.

"He's someone that we've looked at hard and someone that we'll have to pay a huge amount of respect to on Saturday.

"Cudmore is a hugely tough opponent, hugely physical and a good athlete, a very good rugby player. So if you're going to name off all those attributes he's got to be someone you're impressed by."

Combative flanker O'Mahony believes the opening of his maiden World Cup campaign can represent a pivotal time in his career.

The 25-year-old is determined Ireland can quickly hit form after consecutive defeats to Wales and England in their warm-up schedule.

"I think we've a lot of areas to cover, we've had four important and tough Tests," said O'Mahony. "We've plenty to work on but the good thing is there's been a real edge to training.

"You can see it's a World Cup week just by the attitude to training, and we've got through a lot of very good work that we needed to do, so it's been good.

"It's my first World Cup so I'm just massively excited to get over there and get stuck in. It's certainly one of the biggest weeks of my career."