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Edel Thornton's Basketball Diary: 'I had to be forced to go to play at first. Now I'm Ireland captain'

Basketball Diaries: A player's view of a season in the Super League

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Edel Thornton in action for Brunell last season. Photo by: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Edel Thornton in action for Brunell last season. Photo by: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Edel Thornton in action for Brunell last season. Photo by: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

It's funny how things work out.

I had to be forced to go to basketball when I started the sport in first class of primary school. Now, I'm proud to say I'm Ireland captain.

Even though I liked going to my brother Frank's games back then and my mom and dad also played, I was never pushed into it.

Then my friend Jamie Milner and her sister decided to start playing but the two of them still had to drag me in the door. It wasn't that I didn't like the sport, I was just shy.

But once I got into the gym, it was all systems go.

So it's funny to look back and think that Jamie no longer plays the game and I'm the one still lining out for Brunell.

The club was perfect as it was across the road from us in Gurranabraher on the northside of Cork city.

I practically grew up there and all my coaches were family members and friends who all allowed me to flourish.

So when the opportunity came to move back to Cork after a stint playing and studying in America and Dublin, there was only ever going to be one club.

Even though I love home, I always wanted to go to the States when I was younger.

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My dad and I travelled to four colleges in the US after making my first Ireland team that went to the Under-18 European Championships.

I always trust my gut when it comes to big decisions and this time was no different.

Like I said, I was a shy kid and all the American schools I spoke to would have seen that I was happier on the court than in conversation.

Although whenever Quinnipiac University rang from Connecticut I happily jumped up to answer the phone.

That spoke volumes to me about my decision and I'm still so glad to have chosen to go to Quinnipiac because I know going Stateside doesn't work out for a lot of people.

I don't think I had the personality to go play professionally full-time after that as basketball would become a job and I wouldn't enjoy it.

Luckily, Trinity Meteors' Séamus Donnelly turned up in Connecticut with an offer to do a degree in Trinity College Dublin in 2019 and play with their team.

I trusted my gut and took the offer.

That degree allowed me take up my job as a behaviour therapist for children with autism in Cork two years later, and ultimately to a return to Brunell.

I have that same good feeling with the girls at Brunell this season as we are still such a young team so there's a great chance to grow.

It was amazing to get the season off to a single-point victory over DCU Mercy last weekend, but it would have been agonising to have lost that game.

It was also nice to shoot 35 points at home in the Parochial Hall last Sunday.

We have our first away game tomorrow, which involves an 800km round trip to Jordanstown against Ulster University, which will make victory a challenge.

Still, stranger things have happened.

THIS WEEK'S FIXTURES

FRIDAY

InsureMyVan.ie Men's Super League: Demons v Emporium Cork/Ballincollig, Mardyke Arena, 7.30.

SATURDAY

Men's Super League: Maree v KCYMS, Kingfisher Gym, 7.0; St Vincent’s v Griffith College Templeogue, St Vincents CBS, 7.0; Killester v Éanna, IWA Clontarf, 7.30; Tralee Warriors v Belfast Star, Tralee Sports Complex, 7.30; Sligo All-Stars v Marian, Mercy College Sligo, 7.30.

MissQuote.ie Women's Super League: Mystics v Glanmire, Kingfisher Gym, 3.30; Killester v Liffey Celtics, IWA Clontarf, 3.30; Ulster University v Brunell, Jordanstown Sports Village, 5.0; Fr Mathews v Waterford Wildcats, Fr Mathews Arena, 5.0.

Men's Division 1: Malahide v Team North West, Malahide CS, 7.0; Waterford Vikings v St Paul's Killarney, Carrickpherish Hall, 7.0; Dublin Lions v Ulster University, Coláiste Bride, 7.15; Killarney Cougars v FrMathews, Presentation Gym, 7.15; Moy Tolka Rovers v Limerick Sport Eagles, Tolka Rovers SC, 7.30; Portlaoise Panthers v Drogheda Wolves, St Mary’s Hall, Portlaoise, 8.0.

Women's Division 1: Tolka Rovers v Dublin Lions, Tolka Rovers SC, 5.0; Templeogue v Phoenix Rockets, Nord Anglia International School, 5.0; Portlaoise Panthers v SETU Carlow, St. Marys Hall, Portlaoise, 6.0; Oblate Dynamos v Limerick Sport Huskies, Oblate Hall, Inchicore, 7.0; St Pauls Killarney v Limerick Celtics, Aura, 7.30.

SUNDAY

Men's Super League: Moycullen v Neptune, Kingfisher Gym, 2.0.

Men's Division 1: Limerick Celtics v SETU Carlow, Crescent College Dooradoyle, 3.15.

Women's Division 1: Swords Thunder v Cavan Eagles, ALSAA, 3.30.

WEDNESDAY

Women's Super League: DCU Mercy v Trinity Meteors, DCU Arena, 8.30.


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