Hall of Fame Mary Baneham

Mary Baneham

Mary Baneham has had one of the most ground-breaking administrative careers in not just Irish sport but global basketball.

Hall of Fame induction

After falling in love with the sport as a student in Dominican College Eccles Street in the 1960s, she progressed to become chairperson of the Dublin ladies board, helping it, along with fellow trailblazers Marie Glover, Sheila Gillick and Helen McCarthy, become by the late 1970s the most affiliated area board in all of Irish women’s sport and European basketball.

During that decade she also served as the chairperson of the old ABAI’s women’s council, where she successfully pushed for Ireland to field female international teams for the first time (in 1973) and oversaw the formation of a women’s national league (1978-79).

Soon after the ladies board was assimilated into the new revamped national governing body in 1980, she became vice-president of international affairs. During her tenure Ireland hosted for the first time European championships basketball (the 1982 U17s) and won the senior Four Countries championships (1982 and 1985).

In the summer of 1985 she was elected president of the Irish Basketball Association, the first woman to hold such office in a FIBA-recognised country. During her four-year term she’d oversee the establishment of a national schools Cup, the continued expansion of the sport and become the first woman appointed to a FIBA commission.

After her presidency she continued to be involved on the international affairs committee that hosted the 1994 men’s Promotion Cup which Ireland won and also served on the executive of the Olympic Council of Ireland.