Caroline O’Hanlon will lead Northern Ireland at July’s Netball World Cup as head coach Dan Ryan announced his 12-player squad.

O’Hanlon, who was an integral part of Manchester Thunder’s Vitality Netball Superleague title victory, is a formidable mid-court player and has represented Northern Ireland since 2002.

Fionnuala Toner is named by Ryan as vice-captain and fellow Superleague player Michelle Drayne has also been selected.

Northern Ireland’s Netall World Cup Squad

“There were a number of key retirements from the squad after last year’s Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast so we’ve been working hard since December to rebuild the squad and I’m really pleased with the growth and improvements we have shown over the past six months,” said the head coach.

The side have been drawn with the toughest opening match possible, a meeting with the defending champions Australia, before facing off against Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe.

There is a nice balance within the team with a number of really experienced and accomplished performers that will provide us with great leadership, plus some fresh new faces and great young talent that has really stepped up to the mark.

Dan Ryan discussing his squad

Head coach Ryan has not fixed his focus on July 12 just yet. Instead, he’s looking at the here and now for his 12 squad members.

“I can’t wait to get stuck into some more hard work over the next six weeks and challenge ourselves in a number of test matches before seeing what kind of impact we can make at the World Cup,” said Ryan, who will also be part of Sky Sports’ presenting team during the tournament.

“It’s been an absolute pleasure working with the squad so far. They are all so eager, so willing to learn and it’s been really enjoyable seeing that progress unfold each time we come together. “

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