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  • Northside East

Danielle bids for netball glory 

Friday, 16th February, 2018 6:00pm
Danielle bids for netball glory 

Danielle Conway on court.

Danielle bids for netball glory 

Danielle Conway on court.

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Orla O’Driscoll

This year Netball Ireland will host the largest Under 17 European Championships Netball event ever held, a historic first, as 10 nations will compete.

The Ireland team will field a secret weapon in the guise of Danielle Conway, a 17-year-old from Santry, one of only two northsiders on the team (the other player is Ava Casey from Malahide).  

Danielle started to play netball in early 2016 and was chosen straight away for the national squad.

Her manager Jennifer O’Brien says: “Danielle, is not only naturally sporty and beat off a lot of competition to get her spot on the team, she is also an absolute team player who is a high achiever and so ambitious. 

“Danielle makes a huge effort to get on with everyone and never leaves anyone out.”

Netball is a high-speed, very tense game, seen as a true ‘team’ sport, its history stems back to 1800s America.

While the sport in Ireland is financed through fundraising, across Europe, America and Australia, it forms part of the school curriculum and receives funding from representative sports bodies.

As a relative novice to the game, Danielle has already been chosen twice as Player of the Game out of four games. She plays in Goal Defence and her interceptions have the power to change a game.

Danielle says: “Getting Player of the Game is great, but it’s the whole team playing well together that I love.

“Netball isn’t just a hobby for me, it’s a commitment I take very seriously, I am playing for my country.”

In recent years the significance of the game has increased so much that it regularly airs on Sky Sports and other worldwide television sport networks. 

The object of the game, originally based on basketball, and seen as something American female college students could play, requires each team to break the other’s defence across a net, and score a goal by getting a ball through the opposing team’s hoop. 

The costs for netball played as a domestic sport are not exorbitant. It is however, the costs involved in attending events and competitions which require funding.

Jennifer points out: “If we go to an event in Ireland, or do a mini tournament in the UK then it’s about €150 per person, but for the European championships which are coming up in March, that can cost up to €400-€500. 

“These are the things that we have to fundraise for, to allow kids like Danielle take part.” 

Danielle’s school is sponsoring her this year, and allowing the team to use their school gym to train. This has taken some pressure off in terms of financial outlay. 

The championship event, running over a full weekend in County Meath, sees 120 young female athletes compete in two categories, championship and challenge, and it will be the first time for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Isle of Man to compete.

While a team is only as strong as its members, Danielle Conway will be a name to watch out for in the years to come.

The European Championships take place from March 2-4 in Gormanston.

Danielle Conway has a bright future in the sport of netball.

Read the digital editions of the Dublin People Northside East, Northside West & Southside here