Mercy’s full cup focus

by Karl Graham

DCU Mercy are preparing for their biggest game of the season this weekend when they will take on UCC Glanmire in the final of the Women’s National Cup at the National Basketball Arena.
The two teams are meeting in the cup final for the first time since DCU came out on top in 2011 but their final build-up tie proved not ideal.
Mercy lost to Killester in the Super League last weekend but have generally been in good form and remain top of the division after 10 games. Head coach Mark Ingle is confident his players have put that disappointment behind them and will be raring to go come Sunday.
“They are in good shape,” Ingle told the Dublin Gazette. “They have been playing well up until probably last week. That wasn’t our best game by any means but I don’t think the Christmas break has really done them any good.
“They had one game over five weeks so they were a bit out of sorts but they trained well last night and a couple of injuries have healed up. We should be ready to go by the weekend.”
Ingle also believes the loss to Killester will not have damaged the confidence of his players.
“I’m not looking for excuses but two of them did exams on the day of the Killester game and three of them had masters exams Wednesday, Thursday, Friday so I’d say their minds were a little bit elsewhere.
“That’s never mind the fact that you probably have the biggest game of the season coming up. For whatever reason, they weren’t as focused as they could’ve been so it wasn’t really the way they had been playing.”
With DCU’s Under-18 and Under-20 sides competing in cup finals this weekend, Ingle’s team are left at a disadvantage as four of his players will have to play three games in three days, and two players will have to play two.
“Glanmire also have a couple of players playing on the Saturday but they have a lot of experience and their girls are a bit older on average age, so they’ve been there and done that.”
Whether Mercy leave Tallaght victorious or not this weekend, Ingle believes it will have little bearing on the title race.
“You go game by game trying to get yourself into the best position but at the end of the day it comes down to a playoff and it ends up in another cup final. Losing a game or two is never the end of the world if it does come down to a playoff, which it does. Come March, you are down to a semi-final, final situation again.
“The league this year, if you look at the table, has nothing in it. Two months ago we lost our first game to Liffey Celtics and everybody was writing us off.
“I know we’ve a young team but we’ve a young, exciting team. They are quick and they are good defensively when they are totally focused.”

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