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Hannah Thornton's Basketball Diary: 'We might have lost, but we're viewing the game as a lesson'

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

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Hannah Thornton (Centre) with Ireland team-mates and coaching staff on their way to Amsterdam this week. Photo by: Basketball Ireland

Hannah Thornton (Centre) with Ireland team-mates and coaching staff on their way to Amsterdam this week. Photo by: Basketball Ireland

Hannah Thornton (Centre) with Ireland team-mates and coaching staff on their way to Amsterdam this week. Photo by: Basketball Ireland

I like playing a physical game but playing for Ireland against the Netherlands on Thursday was a step up from what we are used to.

I travelled with the Irish set-up to Amsterdam on Wednesday for our first group game of the EuroBasket qualifiers, which is basketball's upper-level European championships.

It was a bit of a learning curve from making the final of the European Small Countries Championships last July, which is the lower-tier competition.

And even though we might have lost, we're viewing the game as a lesson.

We were like, 'Wow these are big girls' at first. Their height and strength was a level up from what some of the girls have ever come up against before.

A couple of us got a few knocks too because they were a bit stronger, but we were well able to withstand the Dutch team's robust approach.

Dayna Finn fell on her funny bone and came off at one stage during the game, but all she got was a bit of a fright, really. She soon returned to action.

We are very happy how we finished the game in the last three quarters – we managed to out score them in the third period – but there's just a few little things to improve on.

We have had lots to do this week in preparation for the Ireland games with meetings, training, the game and getting as much rest when we can.

I'm lucky I can do some work in our down time for my nutrition business, Next Generation Health, whereas some of the other girls have to look for time off from work to represent their country.

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It's been great to be back with the Ireland team, especially considering the success we had over the summer making the final of the Small Countries Championships.

On another day, we could have won that decider against Luxembourg last July. We may have been a little disappointed we didn't win it, but it showed how well we could perform.

Especially considering nearly all of us – bar Fiona O'Dwyer who played in Spain – had not played competitive basketball in over a year with Ireland's Covid restrictions.

We performed well that week, and you're always going to have a little more fun when you're winning.

So, we would like to feel that again on Sunday, when we welcome the Czech Republic to a, hopefully, full National Basketball Arena in Dublin.

Some of our friends and family haven't been at games in a long time so it's fun for them to go back and see us represent our country. And see us on TV as well.

It's great that it's on TG4 and, hopefully, we'll show our young supporters the level we can compete at as a country.

We just need to take those lessons home with us from Amsterdam.

WEEKEND FIXTURES

SATURDAY

Men's Super League – Ballincollig v Killester, Ballincollig Community School, 4.0; Belfast Star v NUIG Maree, De La Salle College, 6.30; Neptune v Templeogue, Neptune Stadium, 6.30; UCD Marian v Killorglin, Oatlands College, Stillorgan, 7.0; Traleee Warriors v DCU Saints, Tralee Sports Complex, 7.30.

Women's Division 1 – NUIG Mystics v Ulster University, Claregalway Secondary School, 3.0; Limerick Sport Huskies v Templeogue, St Munchins College, 4.30; Marble City Hawks v Swords Thunder, O’Loughlins GAA Club, 5.0; Phoenix Rockets v Limerick Celtics, Lisburn Racquets Club, 6.30.

Men's Division 1 – Tolka Rovers v Ulster University, Tolka Rovers Sports Complex, 6.0; Limerick Sport Eagles v Fr Mathews, UL Arena, 7.0; Portlaoise Panthers v WIT Vikings, St Mary’s Hall, 7.0; Dublin Lions v Malahide, Colaiste Brid, 7.15; Limerick Celtics v IT Carlow, St Munchins College, 7.15; Drogheda Wolves v EJ Sligo All-Stars, Ballymakenny College, 7.30; Scotts Lakers Killarney v UCC Demons, Killarney Sports & Leisure Centre, 7.30.

SUNDAY

FIBA Women’s EuroBasket 2023 Qualifier – Ireland v Czech Republic, National Basketball Arena, Dublin, 5.0, TG4.

Men's Super League – Moycullen v Éanna, NUIG Sports Centre, 3.0.

Women's Division 1 – Portlaoise Panthers v LYIT Donegal, St Mary’s Hall, 1.0; Tipperary Knights v Limerick Sport Huskies, Presentation Secondary, Thurles, 3.0.


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