Commonwealth Games: Elaine Rice names Northern Ireland squad for netball competition
The netball competition in Birmingham takes place between July 29 and August 7; Northern Ireland are in Group B alongside defending champions England, reigning world champions New Zealand, Malawi, Uganda and Trinidad & Tobago
Last Updated: 13/06/22 3:36pm
Elaine Rice has named her 12-athlete Northern Ireland squad for the 2022 Commonwealth Games which includes Caroline O’Hanlon and Michelle Magee.
The NI Netball Warriors' head coach has mixed experience and youth for this summer's competition, which takes place in Birmingham from July 29 to August 7.
Seven players in the squad will make their Commonwealth Games debut, with Rice backing them to step up and deliver on court at the NEC Arena.
"To select 12 from 28 was really difficult," Rice said. "We have a brilliant bunch of U21s coming through, so to select the squad was challenging.
"Some of the squad may be new to the Commonwealth Games, but the likes of Olivia McDonald and Jenna Bowman have had a number of caps but weren't about four years ago."
Commonwealth Games - July 29 to August 7, NEC Arena
|Group A||Group B|
|Wales||Trinidad & Tobago|
Manchester Thunder's O'Hanlon, Michelle Magee of Leeds Rhinos Netball, Severn Stars' Michelle Drayne and both Niamh Cooper and Emma Magee of Surrey Storm are the Vitality Netball Superleague athletes selected.
"The Superleague players have four more years' experience this time, for example four years ago Michelle Magee hadn't played Superleague netball, but now she has a lot of court time there.
"Michelle is the ultimate professional and she works hard for the team. The experience she can bring, despite being only 22, is brilliant."
Northern Ireland are in Group B alongside world champions New Zealand, defending Commonwealth Games champions England, Malawi, Uganda and Trinidad & Tobago.
"Our group is really difficult, which seems to happen at the Commonwealths, you get a strong group and a less strong one," Rice noted.
Northern Ireland - Commonwealth Games fixtures
|Friday, July 29||New Zealand vs Northern Ireland|
|Sunday, July 31||Malawi vs Northern Ireland|
|Monday, August 1||England vs Northern Ireland|
|Wednesday, August 3||Uganda vs Northern Ireland|
|Thursday, August 4||Trinidad & Tobago vs Northern Ireland|
"The African Nations are really coming good, and World Netball are working hard to promote the game in Africa. We have to meet Malawi, Uganda and Trinidad and Tobago, they are nations that have all held a top 10 spot and are well worth it."
"Malawi and Uganda haven't been out of the top eight for a while, so it is the hardest group you could get, along with the world and Commonwealth champions."
Northern Ireland's opening match of the tournament is against world champions New Zealand in the evening session on the first day.
They will then continue their campaign against Malawi on day three before taking on England on August 1.
Northern Ireland squad: Jenna Bowman (Larkfield NC), Ciara Crosbie (Belfast Ladies/Oldham NC), Emma Magee (Westside NC/Surrey Storm), Georgie McGrath (Kingsway NC), Caroline O'Hanlon (Larkfield/Manchester Thunder), Michelle Drayne (Larkfield/Severn Stars), Niamh Cooper (Kingsway NC/Surrey Storm), Frances Keenan (Belfast Ladies), Fionnuala Toner (Belfast Ladies), Michelle Magee (Westside NC/Leeds Rhinos), Olivia McDonald (Belfast Ladies) and Maria McCann (Belfast Ladies).