Supersub Doireann O’Sullivan scored the crucial goal as Cork maintained their 100% start to Division 1 of the Bord Gáis Energy National League with a hard-fought victory over Dublin on Sunday.
O’Sullivan struck towards the end of a tight encounter at Ballyboden St Enda’s as Cork claimed a 1-8 to 0-8 victory and a third win from three outings this year.
Dublin, with two wins out of two prior to their meeting with the League and All-Ireland champions, suffered a first defeat of the season but will have left for home encouraged as this is very much a team in transition.
Indeed, star forward Sinead Ahern was the only attacker to play who featured in last year’s All-Ireland quarter-final between the two sides.
And Ahern was denied a first half goal when her penalty was saved by experienced Cork goalkeeper Elaine Harte.
After a low-scoring first half, Cork led by just a single point, 0-3 to 0-2 but the Leesiders had registered 12 wides by half-time.
Cork dominated possession throughout but could never put away dogged Dublin, who hung in until O’Sullivan netted in the closing stages.
Cork’s Rena Buckley was sinbinned towards the end following a challenge on Amy McGuinness but the Rebelettes held out nonetheless to consolidate their position at the head of affairs.
Meanwhile, hosts Tyrone won the crucial relegation battle against Kildare by 2-15 to 4-6 at Healy Park, Omagh.
Both teams had no points ahead of this vital clash but the Red Hands claimed the win that could kickstart their push for top-flight survival.
Lycrecia Quinn scored two goals for Tyrone, who led by 1-11 to 2-2 at half-time against the Lilywhites.
Corner forward Joline Donnelly notched 0-7 for the winners and Gemma Begley contributed 0-4 as Tyrone finally got off the mark in Division 1.
Erica Burke, Aine Gately, Siobhan Hurley and Michelle Carey scored the goals for Kildare but the Lilywhites now cut adrift at the bottom of the table and on course for relegation.
In Division 2, both Mayo and Kerry both won again to ensure that they have taken maximum points from three games.
Ace Mayo forward Cora Staunton scored 1-13 as Mayo scored a 3-13 to 3-10 victory on their travels against Waterford in a high-scoring encounter at Kilmacthomas.
Sarah Rowe scored two goals for Mayo while free-scoring Kerry outclassed Cavan by 3-15 to 0-4 at Finuge.
Having gained promotion from Division 4 last year, All-Ireland intermediate champions Westmeath are coping admirably with the jump in standards and blitzed Wexford by 5-14 to 2-8 in Division 3.
Westmeath and Armagh top the table on nine points from three games while in Division 4, Longford sit on top of the table after coming away from Limerick with a 2-11 to 0-9 win.