Captain fantastic Edel Thornton loved return to elite European basketball with Ireland

Ireland lost to Holland and the Czech Republic but Thornton is adamant the game in this country is going in the right direction
Captain fantastic Edel Thornton loved return to elite European basketball with Ireland

Ireland's Edel Thornton dives on a loose ball against the Czech Republic. Picture: INPHO/Evan Treacy

SINGLETON'S SuperValu Brunell's Edel Thornton has just returned from duty with the Irish international team in the Euro Basket championship and in the words of the joint captain, it was a great experience.

Ireland lost to Holland and the Czech Republic but Thornton is adamant the game in this country is going in the right direction.

“Looking back on the Netherlands game I feel we were shocked as they came at us so fast that we didn’t get a chance to respond as they pressed us intensely and had six three-pointers in the opening quarter,” said Thornton.

Recovering from the opening quarter battering was tough according to Thornton.

“I think we put in a great shift in the remaining three quarters but despite getting back in the mix I felt we lacked structure on court as we needed to be calm even when we were scoring but as a team we are working on this,” added Edel.

Playing unstructured basketball at the top level and indeed at club level is not good enough in the modern game.

“When you are playing at top level the margin of error is minimal and we duly punished but the Dutch had players with sheer quality in their squad.”

 Singleton's SuperValu Brunell's Edel Thornton looks for support as WIT Wildcats' Abby Flynn closes in. Picture: David Keane.
Singleton's SuperValu Brunell's Edel Thornton looks for support as WIT Wildcats' Abby Flynn closes in. Picture: David Keane.

Travelling with the Irish squad is always a pleasure according to Thornton.

The camaraderie in the squad is unbelievable as from the coaching staff down we all get on really well and although our training sessions are competitive, the buzz is great.” 

The second game against the Czech Republic in front of a full house at the National Basketball Arena was a memorable night for Edel but surprisingly she felt they were there for the taking.

“I actually thought we could have beaten them as I genuinely felt if we had played to our potential that game was there for us and I never felt that way against Holland as they were a super side.” 

Playing for Ireland is always an honour to Edel and she feels her side will improve gaining experience playing against the top sides in Europe.

“I had great energy in the two games and playing in front of a packed arena willing you on is a wonderful experience and one I will always cherish.” 

FRUSTRATING

The long road to Cork after the excitement at Basketball headquarters really didn’t affect Edel but she explained the low came on Saturday last when her club Singleton’s SuperValu Brunell lost at home to WIT Waterford Wildcats.

“I maybe should have given training a break for a few days after international duty but I went straight back on Monday evening and in hindsight that was a mistake.

“Maybe I should have allowed myself come down from the hype of the international games but I was so determined to help our team to win against Wildcats that when we failed it really left me in a low place but that’s the beauty of sport.” 

Thornton believes Brunell will need to regroup fast as the next three games are vital.

“We needed a reality check and although we are disappointed there is no time for tears as we must refocus and start doing the simple basic things right as we handed Wildcats a win.”

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