Batt Thornhill

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Batt Thornhill
Personal information
Irish name Parthalan Ó Droighneán
Sport Hurling
Position Full-back
Born Buttevant, County Cork
Club(s)
Years Club
Buttevant
Inter-county(ies)
Years County Apps (scores)
1939-1944 Cork 22 (0-00)
Inter-county titles
Munster titles 4
All-Irelands 4
NHL 2

Batt Thornhill was an Irish sportsperson. He played hurling with his local club Buttevant and with the Cork senior inter-county team from 1939 until 1944.

Playing career[edit]

Club[edit]

Thornhill played his club hurling with his local club in Buttevant. He enjoyed little in the way of major success on the hurling field with the club.

Inter-county[edit]

Thornhill first came to prominence on the inter-county scene in the 1930s. It wasn't until 1939, however, that he enjoyed some success, beginning with his first Munster title following a 4-3 to 3-4 victory over Limerick. Thornhill later lined out in the subsequent All-Ireland final, one of the most memorable championship deciders of all-time. Kilkenny provided the opposition on that occasion in a game that was played during a fierce thunder storm. World War II was erupting all across Europe as Terry Leahy whipped over the winning point for Kilkenny, who won the game by 2-7 to 3-3.[1]

Cork bounced back after this defeat in 1940, with Thornhill collecting his first National Hurling League medal. Cork, however, were later eliminated from the championship following two classic games against Limerick in a replayed Munster final.

1941 saw Thornhill capture a second consecutive National League title. The subsequent Munster and All-Ireland championships were severely hampered due to an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in Tipperary and parts of Leinster. As a result of this Tipperary and Kilkenny, the two counties that were affected the most, were not allowed to participate. It was decided that Cork, after defeated Limerick, would represent Munster in the All-Ireland final. The game against Dublin turned into a rout thanks to contributing goals from Johnny Quirke and Ted O'Sullivan. At the full-time whistel Cork had won by 5-11 to 0-6.[2] It was one of the most one-sided championship deciders of all-time. This victory gave Thornhill his first All-Ireland medal at senior level. In the delayed Munster final in October, however, Tipperary defeated Cork.

In 1942 Cork were still on form with Thornhill collecting a second MUnster title following a defeat of Tipperary. He subsequently lined out in a third All-Ireland final. Dublin provided the opposition for the second year in-a-row and the opening half turned out to be a close affair. Johnny Quirke gave Cork a comfortable half-time lead thanks to a goal, however, in the second-half Cork went on the rampage. At the final whistle Cork were the champions by 2-14 to 3-4 and Thornhill collected a second All-Ireland medal.[2]

A defeat of Waterford allowed Thornhill add a third Munster title to his collection in 1943 before later contesting a third successive All-Ireland final with Cork. Antrim, having already pulled off two of the biggest shocks in hurling by defeating Galway and Kilkenny, were ‘the Rebel’ opponents. The game, however, turned into an absolute rout. At half-time Cork led by 3-11 to 0-2, however, by full-time they had forged ahead to capture a 5-16 to 0-4 victory.[2] It was Thornhill's third consecutive All-Ireland medal.

In 1944 Cork faced Limerick in the Munster final. The game ended in a draw and had to be replayed; however, as full-time approached the possibility of another draw seemed likely. With just minutes remaining Christy Ring caught the sliothar in his own half-back line, soloed past a succession of challenges and, from forty yards out, hammered a shot into the Limerick net. Cork went on to win the game by a goal and Thornhill captured a fourth Munster title. Once again Cork went on to face Dublin in the All-Ireland final and, like the previous three years, the Munstermen had an easy win. Dublin could only manage to score 1-2 compared to Cork's 2-13, resulting in Cork taking the title.[3] With that Cork set a record of four consecutive championship victories that has yet to be beaten.

Cork lost their provincial crown in 1945 and Thornhill decided to retire from inter-county hurling.

Provincial[edit]

Thornhill also lined out with Munster in the inter-provincial hurling championship. He played with his province for three consecutive years in 1942, 1943 and 1944. On all three occasions Munster were successful in capturing the Railway Cup with two victories over Leinster and a third over Connacht respectively.[4]

Post-playing career[edit]

In retirement from playing Thornhill dedicated his time to the running of the Buttevant GAA club. The current Buttevant GAA grounds was purchased by Thornhill and a member of the clergy and trusted to the board of the GAA club. Thornhill donated his four All-Ireland medals to the local church to be melted down after a call from the local Catholic Church who required gold for the creation of a processional cross. His house and barber shop are still a focal point in the town of Buttevant.

Thornhill's son Bobby guided Blackrock to their first county minor championship in 1994, their first and currently their only win since 1974. Following this Thornhill was awarded with a position as Cork minor hurling selector, a position which he filled for two separate terms (1994–1998, 2002–2004). While part of the Cork minor set up, they won the Munster and All-Ireland titles in 1998. In his second term as Cork minor selector, the minor team went on to win the Munster hurling championship in 2005 and 2006. A number of this team has also gone on to represent the county senior team.

Currently, Bobby Thornhill is training the Ballygarvan intermediate hurlers and the Cork intermediate and minor camogie teams.

Honours[edit]

Cork[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Corry, Eoghan (2005). The GAA Book of Lists. Hodder Headline Ireland. p. 348. 
  2. ^ a b c The GAA Book of Lists p. 349
  3. ^ The GAA Book of Lists p. 350
  4. ^ "Munster Railway Cup Hurling Teams". Munster GAA. Archived from the original on 2008-07-19. Retrieved 2008-10-13.