Our goal is to win the double – Ingle

Tom Rooney

Since merging with the Mercy club in 2007, women’s basketball in DCU has gone from strength to strength and head coach Mark Ingle has been at the heart of this progression. During his tenure the college team has won three league titles, two Cups, back to back varsity titles and the Mercy senior team is chasing their third Super League Cup in a row.

While this level of success is no doubt impressive, after a quick glance of Ingle’s CV it’s hardly surprising. DCU’s basketball development officer has coached at every level of Irish basketball bar senior men leading Killester to the double in 2000, the following year he took over as head coach of the Manchester Giants and in 2009 he was assistant coach to the Irish senior women’s team.

DCU Mercy are currently in second place in the Super League behind long time rivals UL and, after two games the Varsity side are on top of the College’s Division 1 North. They have not won the Super League since 2007, but Ingle is hopeful they can rectify this and win the double for the first time.

“Our goal is to try and win the double; win the Super league and the cup in one year, which is quite hard to do. It’s going to be difficult this year, a couple of teams have upped their strength, but we’ve got ex-alumni Helena Kenny back from America and we have Catriona Foley, Aine O’Connor and Katy Kilbride, who are all here on scholarships So we are hoping to do very well.”

While there is a considerable gulf in standard between the Super League and the Varsities, there is nothing inhibiting players enrolled in the college from competing at both levels. Nobody personifies this better than current Irish Captain Lindsay Peat, who is also pursuing a Masters Degree. Ingle could not speak of her in better terms.

“We have Lindsay Peat here, hopefully she is going to play in the Varsities for the college team as well, as she’s probably the best player in the country. It would be very exciting if she joined us for the league games and for the college tournament.”

This however is easier said than done; the work and commitment required in playing basketball at this level, in addition to collegiate concerns or full time employment is nothing short of Trojan. This dedication is emphasised further, when you consider none of the players receive remuneration.


“We train three nights a week, and then they work with Stephen and Graham from DCU Sport twice a week on their own individual program and they play a match at the weekend. It’s hard marrying this with work and college, but they want to play at this level, they are high achievers.”

Not unlike domestic leagues in soccer, winning titles at home qualifies teams to play in European competition the following season. Unfortunately due to financial limitations DCU Mercy have been unable to take their place in the Euro Cup this term.  Along with Ingle, DCU are in the process of addressing this issue.

“The financial input for this program is over € 100,000, you are competing against the likes of Barcelona or Madrid and you are bringing over a party of thirty paying for their flights and expenses. To compete in six games like this, you are looking at getting in three or four pro players.

“The alternative to this would be to attract Masters students from America and run a cheaper program. We are in talks with the college about developing this. I would love to see European basketball here at DCU over the next five years.”

Given the trajectory of his career so far, you wouldn’t bet against Mark Ingle making that happen.

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