WRAP: Favourites impress on busy weekend of TG4 All-Ireland junior and intermediate championship action

2017 runners-up Tyrone blasted out an ominous warning in their opening TG4 All-Ireland intermediate championship fixture of the summer as Chloe McCaffrey’s hat-trick of goals helped the Red Hands to record a comprehensive 5-18 to 2-6 victory over Wicklow in Clones on Sunday.

The Ulster champions picked up where they had left off in the province by earning a deserved victory over Leinster runners-up Wicklow in this Group 2 opener.

The first of McCaffrey’s goals opened up an early 1-2 to 0-0 lead for Tyrone before Jackie Kinch netted for Wicklow.

But goals from Gráinne Rafferty and McCaffrey had Tyrone 3-7 to 1-3 clear, before they went in 3-8 to 1-4 ahead at the break.

Gemma Begley raised a fourth green flag for Tyrone before McCaffrey completed her hat-trick.

There was still time for Rose Fagan to grab a consolation goal for Wicklow, who will face Offaly in a must-win fixture next weekend.

In Group 4, Meath scored a massive victory over Fermanagh to mark themselves out as potential All-Ireland contenders.

The Royals ran out 11-24 to 2-6 winners over 2017 All-Ireland junior champions Fermanagh in Clones, with Marion Farrelly collecting 3-3.

Captain Niamh O’Sullivan and Stacey Grimes scored 2-2 each for the free-scoring Royals, with Vikki Wall, Emma White and Laura Dempsey also netting.

In Group 3, Wexford won the all-Leinster clash against Kildare, on a 3-9 to 1-6 scoreline in Baltinglass.

Aisling Murphy scored two goals for the Slaneysiders, with Lidl Division 3 National League final hat-trick star Catriona Murray also raising a green flag.

In Group 1, Sligo bounced back from their Connacht final defeat to Roscommon to kick-start their All-Ireland series with a victory.

Sligo were 2-12 to 0-8 winners in Group 1 against Longford in Strokestown, Sinead Naughton and Katie Walsh (penalty) on target with the goals.

Michelle Farrell impressed in defeat for Longford, registering six of her side’s eight points.

In the junior championship, London are one of the favourites for glory and they made their trip to Kilkenny a profitable one, recording a 9-18 to 2-2 victory.

On Saturday, Carlow avenged last year’s All-Ireland semi-final defeat against Derry, to score a 2-9 to 1-11 win.

And many people’s favourites for the junior crown, Louth, were 3-17 to 1-9 winners over Antrim, Lauren Boyle finishing with a personal tally of 3-7.

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