Belfast Telegraph

Commonwealth Games: O'Hanlon fired up for the teatime showdown with Scots

By Richard Bullick

Ace centre Caroline O'Hanlon has declared the confidence in the Northern Ireland ranks ahead of this evening's crunch clash with hosts Scotland in Glasgow.

The girls in green got the first ever victory at a Commonwealth Games by a female team representing Northern Ireland when they beat St Lucia 61-40 on Monday evening.

Although that should guarantee them a top 10 finish, O'Hanlon's sights are set on at least matching their eighth place at the 2011 World Cup in Singapore.

To achieve that they will need to silence the Scottish crowd in a packed arena at teatime (5pm) in what will be a classic grudge game.

A 45-44 defeat by the Scots at May's European Championships cost Northern Ireland their place at next year's World Cup in Australia and O'Hanlon is smarting for revenge.

"Not qualifying for the World Cup was a devastating setback but this is a welcome chance to turn the tables on Scotland and everybody's really up for the battle. Making the top eight again is a very important objective for us so it's a massive match for both teams but we're feeling very confident," she insisted.

"Our record against Scotland over recent years is excellent and although they're stronger now, we know them inside out and there's no fear factor.

"It will be a close contest but we've a lot of experienced players and the Scottish crowd won't bother us as this team has played in hostile environments in Trinidad and Fiji earlier this year."

July is shaping up to be the ultimate dream month for the multi-talented O'Hanlon who has had a significant triumph recently on a rival team's turf in her other sport.

As Armagh gaelic captain she lifted the Ulster Championship trophy in front of a crowd of 20,000 in Clones after the Orchard outfit upset favourites Monaghan in the final a few weeks ago.

The hugely experienced and typically positive O'Hanlon was superb against St Lucia and will be a key figure for Northern Ireland this evening along with fellow legend Noleen Lennon who netted 33 of her 36 shots on Monday.

A repeat performance in the Scottish clash could fire the greens to an enormously satisfying and vital victory.

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