Cork claimed an impressive Lidl National League Division 1 win over Westmeath in Mullingar, while Donegal proved too good for Mayo in Convoy and Dublin bagged their first victory when defeating Tipperary.
Tipperary 2-08 Dublin 6-09
Mick Bohan’s Dublin got the defence of their Lidl National Football League Division 1 title back on track this afternoon with a comprehensive win over Tipperary in Ardfinnan.
Goals were the order of the day for the Sky Blues as they raised six green flags – three in each half – with two each for Siobhan Killeen and Lyndsey Davey in an emphatic Dublin performance.
Tipperary played their part in an entertaining game but Dublin’s superior movement and firepower were the telling factors by the full-time whistle.
A quick-fire start by the Dubs saw them race into a 2-1 to 0-0 lead inside the opening four minutes. Killeen found the bottom corner in the opening minute, before Davey scored their second three minutes later.
In the sixth minute Tipperary landed their opening score – a point from Caoimhe Condon – but Dublin stretched their lead out to nine points when Nicole Owens found the net shortly after.
Points from Owens, Carla Rowe and Killeen, were responded to by Aishling Moloney for Tipp, and six minutes from the break Roisin Daly intercepted a Dublin kick-out and goaled with a cool finish to cut Dublin’s half-time lead to 3-04 to 1-03.
The TG4 All-Ireland champions started the second half as they had the first with a palmed goal from Davey after a good run and pass down the right from second-half substitute Kate Sullivan.
Points from Elaine Fitzpatrick and Moloney reduced the deficit, but a goal from Killeen put 12 points between the sides as Dublin continued to hold the upper hand.
Midway through the second-half a speculative long pass from Rowe bounced over the head of the onrushing Tipp goalkeeper Lauren Fitzpatrick and ended up in the empty net, although Tipp got back into the game and a goal from Aishling Moloney from a free with 11 minutes to go lifted the home side.
But a couple of missed shots at goal halted their momentum and two points from the impressive Davey and one from Oonagh Whyte sealed a comprehensive win for Bohan’s charges.
Tipperary: L Fitzpatrick; E Buckley, M Curley, E Cronin; B Condon, S Lambert, C Maher; A Kennedy, E Fitzpatrick (0-01); N Lonergan, A Moloney (1-05), R Daly (1-01); L Dillon, C Condon (0-01), S Everard.
Subs: R McGrath for Dillon (38), O Watson for Lonergan (38), R O’Donnell for Cronin (38), A Carey for Everard (38), C Lonergan for Maher (46).
Dublin: R Fleming; M Byrne, R Ruddy, I Fitzgibbon; S Fagan, O Carey, L Magee; S McGrath, J Dunne; A Kane, S Woods, C Rowe (1-02); N Owens (1-01), L Davey (2-03), S Killeen (2-01).
Subs: C Ruddy for R Ruddy (h-t), K Sullivan for Byrne (h-t), N Hetherton for Woods (38), O Whyte (0-02) for Killeen (41), L Collins for Dunne (44), E Rutledge for Rowe (52), H Leahy for Kane (52), C McGuigan for Owens (55), E Keogh for McGrath (58).
Referee: G McMahon (Mayo)
Westmeath 0-02 Cork 0-10
Despite playing against a strong wind, Cork had by far the better of the exchanges in the first-half and they were good value for the five-point lead they had managed at that stage.
The victory gets Cork off the mark in the Lidl NFL standings, where they pull level with Westmeath, following their win last weekend.
The outstanding Niamh Cotter opened the scoring after a mere 20 seconds, before Aine O’Sullivan added a brace by the eighth minute to put Cork 0-3 to 0-0 in the ascendancy.
Despite playing some solid football in the opening quarter, Westmeath didn't impact the scoreboard until seven minutes before the interval when corner-back Rachel Dillon pointed in style for the home side.
But Ephie Fitzgerald’s visitors – who were TG4 All-Ireland finalists last season – pounced for three more unanswered points by half-time. The impressive Orla Finn kicked the first of those, a wonderful solo effort; Sadhbh O’Leary got in on the act despite being pressurised; while Eimear Kiely delivered a quality score for her side, and they led by 0-6 to 0-1 at the break.
Cork struggled to dominate the second period with their opponents upping their game. Aine O’Sullivan brought her tally to three points from play early in the half and Orla Finn kicked the Rebel county’s remaining three points, including one free.
Maud Annie Foley deservedly got the Lake County’s second point from a free in added-time.
However, they seldom looked likely to score from open play against the wind and Cork claimed the deserved three points, to get their first reward of the competition.
Cork: M O’Brien; S Leahy, M Ambrose, A Kelleher; D Kiely, M Duggan, E Kiely (0-01); A Hutchings, N Cotter (0-01); A O’Sullivan (0-03), L O’Mahony, O Farmer; E Scally, S O’Leary (0-01), O Finn (0-04).
Subs: C Collins for O’Mahony (blood, 15-21), C Collins for Scally (21), M Cahalane for Kiely (54), L Cleary for O’Mahony (54), C O’Shea for Hutchings (60), J Brew Dinan for Duggan (60+2), N Quinn for Ambrose (60+4).
Westmeath: K Walsh; R Dillon (0-01), J Rogers, L Power; F Coyle, K McDermott, F Claffey; K Boyce Jordan, V Carr; L McCartan, L Slevin, J Maher; S Dolan, A Jones, MA Foley (0-01).
Subs: N Feery for Slevin (30+1), L Brennan for Foley (30+2), MA Foley for Dolan (38), A O’Malley for Coyle (44), K Hegarty for McCartan (60), A Dolan for Carr (60).
Referee: G Carmody (Roscommon).
Donegal 3-10 Mayo 2-07
Captain Karen Guthrie led the way again as Donegal battled through a deluge in Convoy to seal their second win on the trot when pulling away from a gallant Mayo outfit in the final quarter.
The heavy rain made handling difficult but both sides produced some excellent passages of play before the home side closed powerfully to seal the deal.
The opening half, played in heavy rain, was see-saw in nature with both teams enjoying periods of dominance and eventually ending up where they began – level – at the interval.
Donegal began like a train with their forwards running riot. Their cause was helped by the fact Mayo were operating with 14 players after their captain Niamh Kelly was sin-binned in the second minute.
The home side drove forward and raced into a six-point lead thanks mainly to the excellence of Karen Guthrie who kicked 1-3 in the first 12 minutes.
That left Donegal sitting pretty but when Kelly arrived back onto the pitch, Mayo cut loose. The impressive Fiona Doherty and Rachel Kearns landed points before Kelly slalomed through for a goal.
That revival left Mayo two clear as the interval neared but a brace of frees from Guthrie just before the break left it all square – 1-6 apiece.
The third quarter was a real battle of attrition with scores very scarce but Natasha Gaughan did nudge Mayo back in front after 41 minutes.
However, that was as good as it got for the Connacht women and a 43rd minute goal from Ciara Grant changed the momentum and another one from Roisin Friel gave the home side the breathing space to enjoy a 3-8 to 1-7 lead after 50 minutes, but Mayo weren’t finished.
Fine play from Danielle Caldwell and Sinead Cafferky got them moving forward and Kearns rattled home a goal to give them some hope.
However, Donegal were in no mood to be caught and the excellent Niamh Hegarty closed out the game with two fine points and Donegal had sealed their second win in as many games while Mayo will learn a lot from their trip to Convoy.
Donegal: A Nee; N Gordon, E Gallagher, S McGroddy; T Doherty, N McLaughlin, N Carr; K Herron, N Boyle; K Guthrie (1-05), N Hegarty (0-03), A Boyle Carr (0-01); G McLaughlin, M Ryan, C Grant (0-01)
Subs: A McColgan for Nee (16), R Friel (1-01) for McGroddy (43), T Hegarty for Grant (59).
Mayo: L Brennan; R Flynn, N Moran, D Caldwell; K Sullivan, Ciara McManamon, N O’Malley; Clodagh McManamon, Dayna Finn; N Kelly (1-02), F Doherty (0-03), S Cafferky; E Needham, R Kearns (1-01), G Kelly
Subs: R Durkin for G Kelly (h-t), A Sheridan for Moran (h-t), N Gaughan (0-01) for Needham (37), A Halligan for Durkin (52), L McManamom for Clodagh McManamon (56), A Roddy for Finn (57), T Hall for Flynn (57), S Wilson for Sullivan (59).
Referee: Brendan Rice (Down).