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Sweet Caroline becomes a Rhino

Caroline O’Hanlon has made the swap to become a Rhinos player next season.

Leeds Rhinos have announced that Northern Ireland captain Caroline O’Hanlon is the sixth player to join their squad for the upcoming Vitality Netball Superleague season.

O’Hanlon, who can play centre and wing attack, joins from Manchester Thunder where she won the Superleague title last season.  The 38-year-old has represented Northern Ireland in three Netball World Cups, and two European Championships and captained her side in this year’s Commonwealth Games, which was the third time she had competed in the event.

The Newry-born player started out with Lisburn-based club Larkfield in the Northern Premier League and first played in Superleague with Team Northumbria in 2014.  She spent a season with Sirens in 2018 before signing for Thunder where she has played for the last five years and was part of their Championship-winning sides in 2019, alongside current Leeds coach Liana Leota, and again in 2022.

Alongside her netball career, O’Hanlon is a General Practitioner and Gaelic Footballer, playing inter-county for nearly two decades with Armagh Ladies.  She is a three-time All-Star and was named Player of the Year in 2014.  Her achievements in netball and Gaelic Football saw her win the Northern Ireland Sportswoman of the Year in 2010.

Commenting on signing a contract with Leeds, O’Hanlon said: “I am really looking forward to joining the Rhinos.  I have been with Thunder for the last five years and I loved that experience.  We, of course, had a great year last year but I am now looking ahead to a new challenge and I am really excited about the squad that has been put together.  I know Liana from her time at Thunder so I can’t wait to get working with her again, she is a fountain of knowledge and as a player, she had loads of flair and a high work ethic and will bring fresh new ideas.

“I have been an admirer of Leeds over the last two years, I have really enjoyed watching their style of play and how they have developed as a franchise and I was really impressed when I spoke to the club about their aspirations for the season and I am ready for a competitive year.  The squad that they have gathered is really exciting and I think we can do some really good stuff on court.”

Leeds Rhinos Netball head coach Liana Leota said: “I am so happy that we have Caroline as part of our team, I think she was outstanding at the Commonwealth Games and individually it was the best I’ve seen her play.  She is a person you always want on your team, she’s hard working and a good person on and off the court and would do anything for the team.  I played with her for three years at Thunder when she was centre and I was wing attack so I have a good connection with her and know her well and she will be a big asset for our squad.”

Caroline is the sixth player to be confirmed for the Rhinos for the 2023 Vitality Netball Superleague season.  She joins Brie Grierson, Vicki Oyesola, Michelle Magee, Rosie Harris and Nia Jones.

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