‘Doctor O’Hanlon is ready to see you now’
As a General Practitioner by day, and international netballer and Gaelic footballer by night, there’s not much that Caroline O’Hanlon can’t do. Born in Newry, Northern Ireland, she began to play netball from an early age, as well as following in her father’s footsteps playing Gaelic football.
Throughout her extensive career, O’Hanlon has represented Northern Ireland in both netball and international rules football, being a member of the netball squad at three Netball World Cups, two European Netball Championships and two Commonwealth Games. In the 2018 Commonwealth Games, O’Hanlon captained the Northern Ireland netball team, and also carried out the flag of Northern Ireland during the opening ceremony.
In 2017 O’Hanlon first signed for Vitality Netball Superleague team Manchester Thunder. As a predominant centre, Karen Greig made the decision in the 2021 season to move O’Hanlon to wing attack to help the team, where she has surprised a lot of critiques and excelled in the position, earning several Player of the Match accolades.
“When I initially signed up, I knew the history within Thunder. They are a team that strives for success every year with a conveyor belt of talent, and the standards that they set on and off the court was something that really appealed to me. Since I’ve been here, they haven’t disappointed, and I’ve been made to feel really welcome. The players are great, the management is great, the franchise is great, and I just feel like I’m a part of it.”
“Ultimately, centre is my first position, but I really did enjoy last season [as wing attack.] It was strange to begin with, and obviously we got plenty of criticism over the course of the season, but thankfully the coaching staff had that belief in me and the group, and it’s about doing what’s best for the team. I was just glad to get on the court because we all know the quality within the squad.”
“We were disappointed on where we finished up last season, but I suppose when we reflected on the journey we went on as a group, and the enjoyment we had across the season, it was really positive within which was a difficult season for everyone. We are really excited this year, and it’s a new group of players essentially, with some really great and experienced players coming in, and it’s really exciting just to see what we can do. At this stage, you don’t know how the mix is going to work, but I’m really looking forward to getting back in with the group and re-setting. It doesn’t matter what we did last year as it counts for nothing now, and we’re back to square one and I can’t wait for the next season.”
Karen Greig, Manchester Thunder Head Coach, said:
“Our warrior is back which is fantastic for us! I think Caroline had a great season last year working so hard and showing us all that she has versatility to offer us in the centre court which will be crucial for us this season. I’m excited to see how she connects with the new players we are bringing in to the team, especially Nat [Haythornthwaite] and Laura [Malcolm], and we now have numerous combinations we can hit other teams with.”