Wexford have gotten their Irish Daily Star National League campaign off to a winning start, with a workmanlike 0-13 to 0-9 win over Tipperary in Cloughjordan.
The Yellowbellies had been scheduled to play Clare on the opening week but the tie fell foul of the weather. There was some rust in evidence early on but they had enough to eke out the win.
Fresh from her scoring heroics as Cork IT won the Purcell Cup, Linda Bolger was the key contributor with five points for Wexford, who fell behind early on but moved three clear with a run of four points on the trot and were 0-9 to 0-4 in front at half time.
The Kehoe twins, Shelley and Stacey also kept the scoreboard ticking over but the away side couldn’t shake off Tipperary, who had Jenny Grace raising five white flags. With Ereena and Sarah Friday also scoring points, the Premier girls were a danger right to the end but a stout defensive display from Wexford denied them a goal that would have made things very interesting indeed.
The belated commencement to the season wasn’t a problem for Clare either as they beat Offaly 0-18 to 1-8 in Corofin. It was a comfortable first day at the office for new manager Patricia O’Grady as her side saw off a team that had begun with an excellent win over Dublin.
The visitors began well with points from Tina Hannon and Lisa Gorman but Clare were level by the end of the opening quarter, thanks to Chloe Morey and Aoibheann Malone. It was nip and tuck from there to the interval and the sides went in deadlocked at the break on 0-5 apiece.
Clare opened up after the resumption however, with Morey punishing Offaly indiscretions in customary fashion. She scored five points (four frees, 1 45) as the home side moved six clear and finished with a total of 11. Cailin Fitzgerald goaled for Offaly but they never looked like reeling their opponents in.
In the final Group 1 game, champions Galway moved to the top of the table with two wins from two after a gritty 0-12 to 0-5 win over Dublin, who were falling to a second consecutive defeat in DCU.
Niamh McGrath shot three points and Aoife Callanan too as the Tribeswomen established a six-point advantage at the change of ends (0-9 to 0-3). Though McGrath had to leave the fray in the second half due to injury, by which stage she has brought her tally to six, Ollie Bergin’s posse were impressively resolute defensively and never looked like yielding, despite Ali Twomey’s three-point supply.
In Group 2, there were wins for All-Ireland champions Cork and Kilkenny. The Noresiders were well on top throughout and had more than enough in hand to withstand a late rally from neighbours Waterford, who were playing their first ever match at senior level. Sarah Ann Quinlan slotted seven points while the more experienced Denise Gaule added five. Ann Dalton, Kate McDonald and Áine Gannon added goals to give Waterford a mountain to climb.
Despite Beth Carton’s goal, the sides were separated by 14 points at one juncture, and though Iona Heffernan and Aoife Shanahan pounced for late goals, it finished 3-16 to 3-7 in Piltown.
Cork secured their first win of the season by 1-18 to 0-9 against Derry in Loup.
In Division 2, Galway were much too strong for Westmeath, Rachel Monaghan's eight points the largest individual contribution in a 3-17 to 0-9 success. Ciara Quirke hit an important goal as Carlow took the prized scalp of Kilkenny (2-4 to 0-7) while Niamh Mallon shot seven points as Down accounted for Wexford (0-12 to 0-7). Deirbhile Byrne plundered two goals as Kildare maintained their recent dominance over Laois by winnign 3-6 to 0-3.
In Division 3 there were wins for Roscommon and Armagh.