Cork basketball ace Thornton returns to old ground to drive Meteors into final

Cork basketball ace Thornton returns to old ground to drive Meteors into final
Edel Thornton of Trinity Meteors goes for a lay up during the Hula Hoops Women's Division 1 semi-final. Picture: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

CORK basketball ace Edel Thornton was the star for Trinity Meteors with a stunning tally of 26 points to see the Dublin side win out 77-63 over Ulster University.

The Dublin side booked their spot in the Hula Hoops Women’s Division 1 National Cup final at the National Basketball Arena in two weeks after coming through a tough test at Parochiall Hall. 

The former Brunell player excelled in the second half in particular at a venue she's very familiar with. Back in Ireland this season after studying in America, she gave a masterclass under the boards as Meteors came from behind to take a big win.

Ulster University got off to the brighter start, with Kollyns Scarbrough and Lexi Posset dominating for the Belfast side. Lauren Grigsby stepped up for Meteors, and she, along with Carolyn Binder and Sarah Kenny worked hard to reduce the deficit as scores rained in from Ulster’s Erin Maguire and Aoife Callaghan.

A big Jade Daly buzzer beating three-pointer just at half time saw Meteors reduce the gap even further and they trailed by just four at the break, 37-33.

The third quarter was a hotly contested affair and it was here where Thornton truly began to come into her own. Anything that happened on either end of the floor, Thornton had a hand in, and she made some big plays and key assists to force some big turnovers for Ulster. Aoife Callaghan kept the pressure on for UU though and made some big drives through to keep their scoring ticking over and they led by four going into the last to tee up a thrilling finish. 

A huge fourth quarter followed and it was Thornton and Grigsby who led the way for Meteors with Thornton fighting tooth and nail under the boards, pulling down some big rebounds to keep momentum with the Dubliners. Ulster were dealt a blow when Briana Mulhern had to leave the court through injury, and with some of their key players in foul trouble, Meteors capitalised from the free throw line and kept the pressure on right until the end, winning out 77-63.

Speaking afterwards, Meteors’ player Eimear Mairtin said: "We knew over Christmas break that we haven't had the game time that we would have hoped for, but we had two really good tough sessions this week and we knew rebounding was going to be a threat from Ulster. We had such a good team defence, that worked really hard as a unit and came up trumps!"

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