By Jackie Cahill
Goals from Bríd and Áine O’Sullivan eased champions Cork to an opening day Lidl Ladies National Football League Division 1 victory over Munster rivals Kerry in Knocknagoshel.
The Rebelettes, who are chasing a tenth top-flight crown in 11 seasons, also had a five-point haul from Orla Finn en route to a comfortable 2-17 to 0-9 victory on their travels.
Cork led by 0-7 to 0-4 at half-time before the O’Sullivans raised second half green flags to seal a convincing win.
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.
In a fierce O’Donnell Park gale, scoring was at a premium, but the Dubs earned a hard-fought 2-5 to 0-7 victory.
There was a stroke of good fortune around Dublin’s opening goal with Donegal goalkeeper Laura Gallagher caught out by a dropping ball in from McEvoy that landed in the back of the net.
Before Donegal had time to really shake their heads clear, Dublin were in for a second goal, as McDonnell slotted home following a scramble on the edge of the square.
Dublin were 2-2 to 0-2 clear at half-time and Mick Bohan’s Sky Blues held firm for maximum points.
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.
Mayo began their campaign without Cora Staunton, who’s in Australia, and fellow long-serving stars Martha Carter and Yvonne Byrne, but promising young forward Sarah Cafferkey weighed in with a brace of points.
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.