Larkfield’s fantastic form this autumn means multi-talented captain Caroline O’Hanlon has effectively ended the year as skipper of the top club sides in Northern Ireland in two different sports.
By thumping Premier League champions Belfast Ladies and following up with a deserved victory over title favourites Graduates, table-toppers Larkfield have reached Christmas with a 100 percent record this season.
Larkfield’s long-serving skipper O’Hanlon, who led the Lisburn club to the double in 2010, has also captained Armagh gaelic champions Carrickcruppen since their adult ladies side was formed almost a decade ago.
In October, they lost by a single point in the Ulster Senior Club Championship semi to one of the two Republic-based sides which contested the decider, effectively leaving Cruppen as the best team in Northern Ireland.
The fact O’Hanlon has captained her respective clubs to pole position is an additional distinction for the 29-year-old, who is already regarded as arguably Northern Ireland’s top player in both sports.
What makes her sporting double life more remarkable is that she has successfully combined playing the two sports to the highest level with working full-time as a doctor.
However with Northern Ireland’s netballers having qualified for next year’s Commonwealth Games, O’Hanlon recently gave up her job in Newry’s Daisy Hill Hospital to return to Queen’s as one of the university’s first Elite Athletes.
The Bessbrook woman still faces a packed programme in the coming months as she is set to double up each weekend by lining out for Team Northumbria in netball’s British SuperLeague and Armagh in ladies gaelic’s National League.
There is the possibility of a Northern Ireland netball tour to the Caribbean in February with the ladies gaelic All Stars trip to Hong Kong scheduled for the following month.
Recently unveiled as the face of the first Queen’s GAA Festival, O’Hanlon will also be central to her university side’s O’Connor Cup defence during a very busy spring.
After that, Ulster will be defending their interpro title in ladies gaelic and the Northern Ireland netball team going for gold at the European Championships, which double up as a qualifier for the 2015 World Cup.
The highlight of summer is normally the Ulster and All Ireland Championships in gaelic but this summer the focal point for O’Hanlon will be Glasgow 2014 and Northern Ireland’s first appearance at the Commonwealth Games.