Larkfield’s shooting star Lisa Somerville is set for her British SuperLeague debut this weekend after signing for Team Northumbria.
The giant goal machine will join her Larkfield club captain Caroline O’Hanlon and Northern Ireland defender Fionnuala Toner as the local contingent in Northumbria’s squad this season.
Last spring, seven Northern Ireland internationals joined Northumbria to help preparations for their first appearance at the Commonwealth Games.
The girls in green secured a superb seventh place at Glasgow 2014 by walloping Wales 58-36 with Somerville netting 46 of her 53 shots.
That superb performance clearly caught the eye of new Northumbria head coach Lisa Stanley who has a much changed squad from last season.
The telepathic link between world-class centre O’Hanlon and Somerville in the shooting circle could see the latter join her Larkfield club captain and the athletic Toner in the first choice starting team.
Northern Ireland’s failure to qualify for this year’s World Cup has triggered several high-profile retirements including last season’s Northumbria vice-captain Noleen Lennon.
Somerville looks like Lennon’s natural replacement not only in her country’s green dress but also for the Tyneside franchise, who finished sixth last season.
A fourth member of NI’s Commonwealth Games squad, Niamh Cooper, is set to face her international colleagues in the coming months having switched from Northumbria to 2014 basement side Loughboro Lightning.
Northumbria begin their new campaign by hosting 2013 champions Team Bath in Newcastle tomorrow evening.
The match is the first leg of a weekend double-header.
They travel to take on Cardiff franchise Celtic Dragons in Monday night’s live Sky Sports clash in a clash which will renew rivalries from that seventh place play-off at the Commonwealths.
In between the multi-talented O’Hanlon will be returning home to captain the Armagh gaelic team in Sunday afternoon’s National League opener away to Donegal.
The wintry weather could complicate the already challenging logistics associated with the Daisy Hill Hospital doctor’s punishing schedule as she tries to tackle three games in a whirlwind weekend which will take her from Tyneside to Ballybofey before finishing in Wales.