Catriona McConnell scored the crucial goal as champions Monaghan opened the defence of their Tesco Homegrown Ladies National Football League Division 1 title with victory over Cork on Saturday.

Gregory McGonigle’s side defeated the All-Ireland champions by 1-12 to 0-11 at Inniskeen on Saturday.

An under-strength Cork side opened up an early four-point lead but McConnell’s first-half goal put Monaghan on the road to victory, in what was a repeat of last year’s Division 1 League final and All-Ireland semi-final.

Monaghan led by 1-5 to 0-5 at half-time and kept Cork at arm’s length during the second half to record a valuable win, with Eileen McElroy, Sharon Courtney and Cora Courtney all in good form.

Meanwhile, Mayo began life under former Dublin boss Peter Clarke with an impressive 2-12 to 2-6 victory over Tyrone.

Cora Staunton was star of the show as the Westerners marked their return to the top flight in style.

By half-time, ace forward Staunton had scored 2-3 as Mayo led by 2-4 to 1-6.

Elsewhere, Laois collected maximum points from their trip to Donegal as the Leinster outfit claimed a 1-16 to 1-9 victory.

Karen Guthrie scored 1-1 for Donegal early in the second half but Ciara Burke responded with a goal for Laois and that proved to be the pivotal score.

In the Leinster derby, Lauren Ebbs and Amy Ring scored the goals for Dublin as the Jackies beat Meath by 2-6 to 0-10 at Fingallians.

In the top game in Division 2, Kildare needed a late goal to claim a draw against Galway in a cracking tie. Kildare had two players sin-binned in the second half but still managed to dig out a 4-8 to 2-14 draw.

The game was delayed until 3pm following a car crash involving the appointed match referee, who was replaced.

Kerry hammered Waterford in the all-Munster clash and there were also wins for Fermanagh and Westmeath in Division 2.

Sligo, Leitrim and Tipperary got off to winning starts in Division 3 as Ulster sides Down and Armagh drew.

And in Division 4, Limerick and Offaly enjoyed big wins away from home against Carlow and Derry respectively.