Commonwealth Games 2018: Northern Ireland name 88-strong squad

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Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games team announced

Northern Ireland will send a squad of 88 athletes across 13 sports to the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia.

After winning medals in Glasgow, Steven Donnelly, Michaela Walsh and Alanna Nihell are among the boxers expected to lead Northern Ireland's podium prospects.

Athletics Northern Ireland had nominated a total of 15 athletes but just 11 have been selected.

Belfast native Kevin Seaward will join Paul Pollock in the men's marathon.

Rio Olympian Seaward achieved the qualifying time at the Berlin Marathon in September when he crossed the line 40 seconds inside Athletics Northern Ireland's standard.

Ciara Mageean, who missed the 2014 Games in Glasgow, will lead the medal prospects in athletics when she competes in the 1500m.

The Commonwealth Games Council has followed the nominations order submitted by Athletics Northern Ireland in late October, which means that 3,000m steeplechaser Kerry O'Flaherty and sprinter Amy Foster are among those to miss out.

Dame Mary Peters, who won gold at the 1970 and 1974 Commonwealth Games, joined athletes for the team announcement
Dame Mary Peters, who won gold at the 1970 and 1974 Commonwealth Games, joined athletes for the team announcement

The boxing squad also includes Brendan Irvine, Sean McComb and James McGivern, who was named boxer of the night at the Ulster Elite Championships finals in November.

Kurt Walker, who missed the Ulster Championships because of a thumb injury, has also been selected.

Stephen McMonagle, Carly McNaul, Kristina O'Hara, Damien Sullivan, Conor Wallace and Aidan Walsh are the other boxers included and they will be joined by coaches John Conlan, Peter Brady and Damian Kennedy.

Most inclusive Games

In total, a team of 134 athletes, coaches and support staff will travel to the Gold Coast, which is the largest team that Northern Ireland has sent to a Commonwealth Games in Australia.

Three Para-athletes have also been included in the travelling party.

Wheelchair athlete Jack Agnew has been selected along with swimmer Barry McClements and triathlete David Kerr.

The netball team, which finished seventh in Glasgow, has also secured qualification along with veteran shooting medallist David Calvert, who will be competing in his 11th Commonwealth Games.

Calvert, who first took part in Edmonton in 1978, has won four gold and four bronze medals during his Commonwealth career.

Beach volleyball, Para-triathlon and women's rugby sevens will make their Commonwealth Games debuts and for the first time, an equal number of men's and women's medal events will be contested.

Northern Ireland's Commonwealth Games squad
Aquatics: Calum Bain, James Brown, Curtis Coulter, Conor Ferguson, Jamie Graham, Danielle Hill, Barry McClements, Jordan Sloan, David Thompson
Athletics: Jack Agnew, Adam Kirk-Smith, Sommer Lecky, Ciara Mageean, Dempsey McGuigan, Adam McMullen, Emma Mitchell, Kate O'Connor, Paul Pollock, Leon Reid, Ben Reynolds, Kevin Seaward
Badminton: Ciaran Chambers, Sinead Chambers, Rachael Darrah
Boxing: Steven Donnelly, Brendan Irvine, Sean McComb, James McGivern, Stephen McMonagle, Carly McNaul, Alana Nihell, Kristina O'Hara, Damien Sullivan, Kurt Walker, Conor Wallace, Aidan Walsh, Michaela Walsh
Cycling: Lydia Boylan, Eileen Burns, Marcus Christie, Mark Downey, Marc Potts, Robyn Stewart, Xeno Young
Gymnastics: Ewan McAteer, Rhys McClenaghan
Lawn bowls: Sandra Bailie, Catherine Beattie, Gary Kelly, Andrew Kyle, Simon Martin, Sally McAuley, Donna McCloy, Ian McClure, Martin McHugh, Erin Smith
Netball: Kyla Bowman, Lisa Bowman, Niamh Cooper, Michelle Drayne, Gemma Lawlor, Noleen Lennon, Michelle Magee, Lisa McCaffrey, Oonagh McCullough, Caroline O'Hanlon, Fionnuala Toner, Neamh Woods
Shooting: Jack Alexander, Kirsty Barr, David Calvert, Rory Hamilton, David Henning, Stuart Hill, Gareth McAuley, Alexandra Skeggs
Table tennis: Owen Cathcart, Paul McCreery, Ashley Robinson, Zak Wilson
Triathlon: James Edgar, David Kerr, Russell White
Weightlifting: Stephen Forbes, Emma McQuaid, Cameron Montgomery, Rebekah Thompson
Wrestling: Sarah McDaid