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O'Hanlon keen to net more success with Armagh Ladies

Netball

Huge talent: Caroline O’Hanlon in netball action
Huge talent: Caroline O’Hanlon in netball action
John Campbell

By John Campbell

When Caroline O'Hanlon took her first faltering steps with the Armagh Ladies football team, she little dreamt that 18 years down the line she would still be hotly in pursuit of honours.

And if she has surpassed her aspirations to date in this particular code, then she has just scaled a special peak in netball, her other great sporting love.

Not only does O'Hanlon continue to distinguish herself in Armagh's colours but she is a key component of the Manchester Thunder side which clinched the Vitality Super League title by doing it the hard way.

In the process, O'Hanlon picked up the coveted Super League Player of the Month accolade for March - another feather in her imposing sporting cap.

Five matches in 13 days would test the stamina and resolve of even the best-equipped sports people but 34-year-old O'Hanlon takes it all in her stride.

While her travels with Armagh have taken her to various parts of this island this year, her weekly flights to Manchester must of necessity be shoe-horned into a busy working week as a GP in Clough.

Now that Armagh have reached the Division Two semi-finals of the Lidl Ladies National Football League, O'Hanlon is fired up for more success yet remains thoroughly grounded as she ponders a sporting itinerary that is in essence a test of human endurance.

"I regard it as an honour to play for my county and while you are fit and well you have to take these opportunities," maintained the Camlough dynamo.

"We show the same level of commitment as those who make up the Armagh men's team do. We're trying to bring our sport on all the time. We're definitely in the semi-finals at this stage but we want to go all the way."

And while this most durable and dedicated of midfield players targets more glory with the Orchard County, she can derive considerable satisfaction from her huge contribution to Manchester Thunder's success.

"When I started playing for them, obviously the travel was a bit of a bind but I have got used to it now and I take it in my stride. I thoroughly enjoy the netball and there is a great spirit within the Manchester side," revealed O'Hanlon.

"It's nice to taste success but it does take hard work. Sometimes it can be very demanding but you have to be prepared to put in the hard yards if you want to make headway."

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