GAA Football

Orchard GAA ladies football star Caroline O'Hanlon returns to netball's British SuperLeague

Armagh's Caroline O'Hanlon in full flight
Richard Bullick

ARMAGH ladies gaelic football ace Caroline O'Hanlon will be live on Sky Sports tonight when she returns to netball's British SuperLeague after a one-year absence.

Her Scottish Sirens franchise host fellow newcomers Wasps Netball (7.15pm) in front of a 4,000 capacity crowd at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow, with O'Hanlon one of several star signings.

European Player of 2010 O'Hanlon is joined at the Sirens by legendary Jamaican giants Carla Borrego and Althea Byfield along with towering Kiwi Ellen Halpenny, underlining the new set-up's serious intent.

Triple All Star O'Hanlon, All-Ireland Player of the Year in 2014, remains enthusiastically committed to the Orchard cause having embarked upon her 16th inter-county season in the orange jersey.

The Bessbrook woman combines her hectic sporting schedule with a demanding professional life having recently converted from being a hospital doctor to working as a GP.

“It will obviously be busy but I'm grateful for the opportunity to keep playing both sports to the highest level and excited about the season ahead with Armagh and the Sirens,” says the 32-year-old.

“I'll be playing with and against so many of the world's leading netballers in SuperLeague and now that Armagh are in an exceptionally competitive NFL Division One, it's big games all the way in football too.”

Scotland's first professional netball team is one of three new outfits who will be competing in an expanded 10-team SuperLeague this season with Worcester-based Severn Stars also brought in while Yorkshire Jets have been jettisoned.

Northern Ireland's most capped international netballer of all time, O'Hanlon previously played for Tyneside-based franchise Team Northumbria for two seasons before opting out last year.

Scotland captain Claire Brownie has been brought back from 2013 SuperLeague champions Team Bath to be the first Sirens skipper and will line up next to world-class centre O'Hanlon.

Player of the Tournament as Northern Ireland won the Nations Cup in Singapore last winter, O'Hanlon hopes to lead the girls in green into next year's Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

Having finished a superb seventh at Glasgow 2014, Elaine Rice's side will qualify for the event in Australia if they retain their place in the top 12 of the world rankings in the coming months.

Domestically, O'Hanlon is on the verge of leading Lisburn-based Larkfield to their fourth NI Premier League title on the trot in her 10th season as club captain.

These are interesting times for the incredibly busy O'Hanlon who recently inspired Armagh to a first ever victory over All-Ireland champions Cork in ladies gaelic's National League Division One.

She will line out for the Sirens tonight and at home to Welsh franchise Celtic Dragons on Saturday in between Armagh's NFL fixtures against Mayo and Galway on successive Sundays.

GAA Football

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