By Jackie Cahill
Manager Ephie Fitzgerald hailed an opening day victory for champions Cork over Munster rivals Kerry in Division 1 of the Lidl Ladies National Football League.
Cork, who’re aiming for a tenth top-flight title in 11 years, ran out 2-17 to 0-9 winners on their visit to Knocknagoshel, as Bríd and Áine O’Sullivan struck for second half goals.
Cork were 0-7 to 0-4 clear at half-time before pulling away, as Orla Finn finished with five points.
Action from yesterday’s game. Picture: Tom Russell
Fitzgerald said: “Delighted to get off to a winning start and it’s never easy to win against Kerry, especially when they are at home.
“It’s important to get points on the scoreboard early on as this is a competitive league.”
Fitzgerald also indicated that 2016 senior Players’ Player of the Year Bríd Stack and last year’s All-Ireland senior camogie winning captain Rena Buckley “haven’t made their minds up yet” about linking up with the footballers for the campaign ahead but he added that the pair “hopefully might return later in the season.”
Fitzgerald added: “I’m happy with some of the younger players, especially the likes of Beatrice Casey who was making her league debut today.”
Elsewhere in Division 1, there were victories for TG4 All-Ireland senior champions Dublin, last September’s Croke Park runners-up Mayo and Connacht title holders Galway.
First-half goals by Niamh McEvoy and Rebecca McDonnell fired Dublin to victory over Donegal in Letterkenny, as the visitors earned a hard-fought 2-5 to 0-7 win.
Dublin coach Ken Robinson admitted afterwards: “We’ve only just come back after Christmas, but that was sloppy.
“We didn’t play too well. it was maybe a five out of ten by us.”
In Swinford, the Kelly sisters, Grace and Niamh, collected 0-7 between them as Mayo ran out 0-11 to 0-7 winners over Westmeath.
Peter Leahy took charge of Mayo in a competitive League fixture for the first time, and masterminded victory over his native county.
Meanwhile, a dominant first half from Stephen Glennon’s Galway ensured victory over Monaghan on the 3G Astroturf pitch at the Connacht Centre of Excellence in Bekan, Mayo.
Galway scored a 4-10 to 2-6 win and are rated by many as dark horses to make a serious impact in League and championship this year.
Monaghan struck an early goal from a Louise Kerly penalty but Galway responded with 3-3 in the space of 14 minutes, including goals from Ailbhe Davoren, Tracey Leonard and Leanne Coen.
Mairead Seoighe added a fourth Galway goal and while Shauna Coyle netted a fortuitous effort for Monaghan, the Tribeswomen were ten points clear at half-time and well on their way to victory.
In Division 2, two Orla O’Dwyer goals helped visitors Tipperary claim a notable 2-12 to 2-10 victory over Armagh.
Clare, Cavan and Tyrone also claimed opening day victories in the second tier while Division 3 saw Wexford, Meath and Roscommon emerge victorious in their fixtures.
And in Division 4, there were wins for Antrim, Louth and Wicklow, as Carlow and Limerick shared the spoils.
Results – Lidl National Football League Division 1: Donegal 0-7 Dublin 2-5; Galway 4-10 Monaghan 2-6; Kerry 0-9 Cork 2-17; Mayo 0-11 Westmeath 0-7
Lidl National Football League Division 2: Armagh 2-10 Tipperary 2-12; Clare 0-13 Laois 2-6; Laois 0-8 Cavan 2-11; Tyrone 4-11 Waterford 2-11
Lidl National Football League Division 3: Longford 2-5 Wexford 3-10; Meath 4-13 Down 2-2; Roscommon 5-14 Offaly 0-8
Lidl National Football League Division 4: Carlow 1-4 Limerick 1-4; Fermanagh 2-9 Antrim 3-10; Kilkenny 1-1 Louth 7-24; Wicklow 2-20 Derry 0-5