Sensational silver for Perse netballer at European tournament
Caitlin Wade (Lower Sixth) earned a superb silver medal representing Ireland in the Netball Europe U17 Challenge.
The team came second in the round-robin tournament, beating hosts Gibraltar 45-23, Switzerland 52-32 and Isle of Man 46-45 before losing to eventual champions United Arab Emirates 65-33.
In addition, Caitlin claimed Ireland’s player of the competition award after a series of excellent performances at goal-defence.
Caitlin, who qualifies to represent the Emerald Isle as her father is Irish, was elated with how her first international competition had gone.
She said: “There was such a great atmosphere and it was so exciting, it makes me happy every time I think about it!
“I was really excited and proud just to play for Ireland. My family were there as well, so it was just incredible.”
Caitlin admitted it was very different from playing matches for her club, Ware-based Wodson Park.
She said: “When we played Gibraltar in our first match, they brought lots of children from local schools so there were about 300 people all booing us!
“The highlight was the Isle of Man game as we were both going for second place. Only the runners-up would get a medal and we beat them by a single goal.
“It was nice because all the games were filmed, so you could see our reaction at the end. I’ve never experienced something like that.”
Caitlin has certainly shown great commitment following successful trials for the Irish squad at the beginning of this year.
One Saturday each month, Caitlin and her Dad leave home at 7am, fly from Stansted to Dublin and travel to the venue – where she has a four-and-a-half-hour training session – before making the return journey and getting back at 11pm.
In the run-up to the Europe Challenge, that return trip became an even more regular mission as the team also played matches against Irish club sides.
Off the back of her displays at the tournament, Caitlin now hopes to be selected to represent Ireland at another competition in February.