IT was a St Patrick’s Day to remember for Cork's Edel Thornton after she starred in the US March Madness college basketball tournament.
Former Brunell ace Thornton inspired her side Quinnipiac Bobcats past Miami Hurricanes with a tally of 14 points, after nailing a three-pointer in just 34 seconds to set the tone. The Bobcats face number one seed UConn Huskies at 10.30pm Irish time on Monday night in the second round of the NCAA competition.
Last season – in her first year in college in the US – Thornton helped Quinnipiac to the Sweet Sixteen as underdogs and they’ll have to upset the odds again tonight against the experienced Huskies.
Her mother Christine and brother Jason were in the States for Patrick’s Day, watching Edel get her second start in a row, having been the side’s key player off the bench in the regular campaign.
"My family travelled all the way from Ireland so I couldn't send them home any other way," Thornton told the team website. "There was great enthusiasm for the whole game, obviously we want to win but to do it today was extra special."
The number 11 scored a couple of brilliant lay-ups against physically bigger opponents in the fourth quarter, a throwback to her time with Brunell.
"At home, I never shot the ball," Thornton said. "I always drove the ball against four or five people. If I fell down or had an issue it was always my dad yelling at me to 'Get back up'. That's just what you do, you get back up, and I did it so much at home that it's just natural...it's the grit and the toughness."