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Bord Gáis Energy Ladies NFL round-up

by Jackie Cahill

LETHAL forward Valerie Mulcahy scored 3-3 as defending champions Cork beat Kildare in their first Bord Gáis Energy Ladies National Football League match of the new season.

Cork’s proposed opening fixture against Mayo fell foul of the weather last weekend but the Munster champions blew off the cobwebs to inflict a first defeat of the season on Kildare, who had beaten Laois in their first match.

Cork ran out 4-11 to 0-15 winners away from home in Ballykelly and it was three second half goals that eventually accounted for the home side on Sunday.

At half-time, Cork held a slender one-point lead, 1-5 to 0-7, and a plucky Kildare outfit went ahead in the second half before Cork scored the matchwinning goals.

Mulcahy’s sixth minute penalty handed Cork an early boost but Kildare refused to be overawed and the eventual eight-point margin of victory flattered the Leesiders.

Mulcahy grabbed a second goal 12 minutes into the second half, Nollaig Cleary raised Cork’s green flag seven minutes later before Mulcahy completed her hat-trick five minutes from time.

The experienced trio of Mulcahy, Juliet Murphy and Cleary, who scored 1-3, were central figures in this Cork victory which will have gone some way towards erasing any lingering memories from last year’s shock All-Ireland quarter-final defeat against Tyrone.

For Kildare, Catherine O’Malley and Mary Hulgraine both scored four points and were leading players for the Lilywhites, who were on top for spells during the game.

In Division 2, last year’s beaten All-Ireland semi-finalists Kerry made it two wins from two in this season’s Bord Gáis Energy National League with a 1-13 to 2-5 victory against hosts Cavan in Bawnboy.

But the visitors, who had roared into an early 1-3 to 0-0 lead, had to withstand a late Cavan fightback before securing maximum points on their travels.

Sarah Houlihan scored a superb early goal to set Kerry on their way but they survived a real scare when Dana Clerkin missed a first half penalty for Cavan.

At half-time, the Kingdom led comfortably by 1-8 to 0-2 but Cavan were a team transformed after the break and a 34th minute goal from Sinead Green rallied the large home support.

Clerkin atoned for her earlier penalty miss by scoring a well-taken goal with eight minutes of normal time remaining to bring Cavan to within two points of Kerry, trailing by 2-5 to 1-10.

But when the chips were down, Kerry stayed cool and points from Emma Sherwood, Caroline Reen and Patrice Dennehy helped to stave off the Breffni fightback.

In Division 3, Down bounced back from their opening day defeat against Clare by scoring a 1-11 to 1-5 victory against 2010 All-Ireland junior champions Limerick.

This was Limerick’s first outing of the new campaign and the extra match practice that Down had under their belts served the Mourne County well at Saval.

At half-time, Down led by 1-4 to 1-2 as the hosts responded well to an early penalty from Limerick’s scoring machine Dymphna O’Brien, who was held to 1-1.

Down had an impressive scoring contribution from Kyla Trainor, who scored 1-2, and five points from Aileen Pyers were also crucial in this six-point win.

And in Division 4, Antrim made it two wins from two outings with a 3-14 to 0-11 victory against Offaly at St Mary’s Grammar School, Belfast.

Claire Timoney, Maeve McCurdy and Rachel Fulton scored the goals for the Saffrons as Offaly suffered defeat for the first time this season, having collected an opening day success against Carlow.


Bord Gáis Energy Ladies National Football League Division 1:

Donegal 5-7 Laois 2-10
Mayo 1-8 Monaghan 3-13
Kildare 0-15 Cork 4-11
Tyrone 1-13 Galway 2-10

Bord Gáis Energy Ladies National Football League Division 2:

Meath 3-18 Armagh 1-6
Waterford 4-16 Sligo 0-9
Tipperary 0-7 Dublin 3-21
Cavan 2-5 Kerry 1-13

Bord Gáis Energy Ladies National Football League Division 3:

Fermanagh 4-12 Wicklow 2-7
Leitrim 2-10 Clare 6-11
Down 1-11 Limerick 1-5
Wexford 1-13 Longford 1-7

Bord Gáis Energy Ladies National Football League Division 4:

Antrim 3-14 Offaly 0-11
Carlow 1-4 Louth 3-11
Westmeath 4-23 Derry 0-2
Roscommon 4-27 Kilkenny 0-4

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