Northern Ireland’s netball team finished their first Commonwealth Games in seventh place, rounding off a successful tournament by beating Wales 58-36, a result that meant they exceeded their pre-Games target of eighth.
“We are absolutely over the moon, we are delighted. We came here with the expectation of 8th and we wanted 7th. We got a good start, maintained it, built it throughout the game and just finished off on a high. It was brilliant, said Lisa Somerville who was 46/53 for an 87 per cent shooting success rate as Northern Ireland started off quickly building a 16-6 lead at the end of the first quarter and extending it to 31-18 by half-time.
They withstood a Welsh fight back before pulling away in the final fifteen minutes.
“We knew a lot about Wales and after a really poor World Cup qualifier which we were disappointed off the back of that defeat to them, this was really the driving force going in to that match. We had a point to prove and on this the highest stage for netball this was the time to do it,” added Caroline O’Hanlon.
Northern Ireland recovered after losing their first three games to tough opposition in the shape of Malawi, Jamaica and New Zealand but finished with group victories over St Lucia and Scotland before the win over Wales.
“The first 3 games were hard. We still went out with the mentality of playing a good game even though we knew the result might not have been in our favour. So it was a good opportunity to use everybody, and work out some strategies for the last two group games and then the game against the Welsh,” said Somerville.
O’Hanlon added: “We have a lot of faith in each other and we are a very strong group, have a strong bench, and had different combinations throughout the tournament. Everyone played their part throughout the course of the tournament. Hopefully this will be a massive promotion for netball in Northern Ireland. We’ve had a lot of support over the last week or so and that’s brilliant to see, and we’ve had a lot of coverage back home so hopefully we can build on this and have some strong plans for the next couple of years.”
Meanwhile, Northern Ireland’s interest in the table tennis came to an end on Friday morning when Ashley Givan and Amanda Mogey were beaten in the third round of the women’s doubles.
They lost 11-7, 11-6, 11-3 to the Canadian pairing of Anqi Luo and Mo Zhang.