2006 winners Cork produced a strong second half performance against hosts Dublin at Naomh Mearn¾g to record a 1-13 to 0-5 win.
Dublin were very much in contention at half-time, trailing by 0-6 to 0-4, but Cork upped a gear after the break and clinched a comfortable eleven-point victory.
With Allstar Eimear Brannigan ruled out of the Dublin full-back line, Jean O’Connor stepped in and acquitted herself well as the Sky Blues rearguard performed impressively, despite the losing margin.
The star-studded Cork half-back line trio of Mary O’Connor, Gemma O’Connor and Rena Buckley provided the platform for this Rebelettes success as the Dublin attackers struggled to make use of the possession that came their way.
The Cork midfield gained a firm stranglehold while Joanne O’Callaghan also excelled in defence as Dublin were restricted to just one Ciara Lucey free in the second half.
Una O’Donoghue scored 0-5 for last year’s beaten All-Ireland finalists Cork, Rachel Maloney chipped in with 0-4 after making the move from wing forward to full forward and Emer O’Sullivan bagged 0-3.
Orla Cotter scored Cork’s goal two minutes from time to add gloss to the final scoreline.
Meanwhile, beaten Division 1 league finalists Galway recorded a 4-18 to 1-6 victory against Limerick, newcomers to this year’s Gala senior championship.
The superbly-talented Jessica Gill scored 2-6 en route to a 21-point victory at Kenny Park in Athenry.
The Tribeswomen scored three goals in five first half minutes as Gill (16), Therese Maher (18) and Orla Kilkenny (20) did the damage with a quickfire treble.
Galway led by 3-8 to 0-3 at half-time but to their credit, the Shannonsiders hung in there and were rewarded when Michelle Casey found the net midway through the second half.
Galway, however, struck back in clinical fashion with a penalty two minutes later as Jessica Gill found the net on her way to a 1-4 second half tally.
Tipperary, looking to add to their five titles, got their Gala championship campaign off to a perfect start with a 2-12 to 2-10 victory against Division 1 league champions Kilkenny at Nowlan Park.
The sides were level at the break, 1-4 to 0-7, as SinÚad Millea struck for the first of her two goals for Kilkenny.
Tipperary took control of the game when Therese Shortt and Allstar Philly Fogarty scored crucial goals before Millea responded as Kilkenny tried to force their way back into contention.
Tipperary’s tactical changes at half-time took effect as Joanne Ryan’s move to midfield from the full-forward line worked a treat.
Tipp shuffled their front eight and it took Kilkenny a while to react before the Cats came with a late surge.
In the closing minutes, Kilkenny laid siege to the Tipperary goal and Aoife Neary was desperately unlucky not to score a late winning goal.
Tipperary held on for a valuable two-point victory as Allstar Claire Grogan top-scored with nine points for the Premier County, including six frees.
Cork, 1-13; O Cotter 1-1, U’ Donoghue 0-5, R Moloney 0-4 (0-1f), E O’ Sullivan 0-3.
Dublin, 0-5, L O’Hara 0-2, C Lucey 0-2f, J Hoary 0-1.
Galway, 4-18, J Gill 2-6 (1-0,pen,1-3f), T Maher, O Kilkenny1-1 each, V Curtin 0-5, C Cormican, A Hilary 0-2, each, C Kelly 0-1.
Limerick, 1-6, M Casey 1-0, E O’Brien 0-4f,, J Clifford, N Carroll 0-1 each.
Tipperary: 2-12, P Fogarty 1-1, T Shortt 1-0, C Grogan 0-10 (0-4f), J Ryan 0-1
Kilkenny: 2-10, S Millea 2-1 (0-1f), M Dargan 0-3, A Dalton 0-3f, T Power 0-2, L Lyng 0-1.
Gala Intermediate c’ship:
Derry: 1-16, (U Mullan,1-0),(G Mc Goldrick 0-6,(,0-2f, 0-1’45), (A Lafferty 0-4), (M Mc Goldrick, 0-2), (K Lafferty, B Convery, C O’Kane, J Carey, 0-1 each).
Cork: 3-6, (C Kearney 2-0), ( M Browne 1-3, 0-2f),(M Jagoe 0-2), (M Watson,0-1).
Kilkenny 1-11, C Ryan 1-1, A Farrell 0-4 (0-1f), H Maher, B Neary 0-2 each, C Aylward 0-2f.
Tipperary 1-9, B Byrnes 1-1,C Johnston 0-7,( 0-1’45, 0-5f),A Langton 0-1.
Gala Junior c’ship:
Carlow 0-9, V Crean 0- 5f, M Coady 0-2, E Brennan, E O’Neill 0-1 each.
Armagh 0-9, C Mc Sorley 0-4 (0-1f), M Mc Guigan 0-3 (0-1f), M King, P Murphy 0-1 each.