Dublin manager Mick Bohan lamented his side’s lack of composure as a remarkable performance and late equaliser from Tipperary’s Aishling Moloney earned her side a vital Lidl Ladies NFL Division 1 point against the defending TG4 All-Ireland champions.
Moloney struck the game’s only goal before the break to give last year’s Intermediate champions a healthy five-point cushion at half-time, but spurred on by a superb performance from Carla Rowe, Dublin remained in touch.
Rowe – who scored five points from play – Kate Sullivan and Niamh Collins pushed Dublin ahead in the closing stages, but Moloney converted a late free to give Tipperary something for their efforts in a 1-7 to 0-10 draw.
“I thought we had the winning of it. Obviously the first half was very disappointing from our end,” said Dublin manager Mick Bohan.
The approach, the work-rate, the stuff we’ve come accustomed to...they turned that around, in fairness. The second-half approach was completely different from the group.
Then (we needed) a little bit of composure. We had the game won and we ran into traffic twice to turn the ball over. That’s the type of thing, we’d expect those decision to be made better.
Elsewhere, in Corofin, nine points from Tracey Leonard almost rescued Galway, but four first-half goals from Waterford proved crucial in their 5-4 to 1-15 triumph.
Triplets Emma, Aoife and Katie Murray all hit the net for the Déise, who marked their return to the top flight with a precious win in the west.
Waterford held a 4-3 to 1-6 lead at the interval, with Roisin Leonard scoring Galway’s goal, but with scores at a premium for Waterford after the break, Chloe Fennell’s point was the vital score in the end.
“We’re delighted with the result and it being the first round of the league but we were definitely hanging on towards the end,” admitted Waterford manager Ciarán Curran.
“In the first half, I thought we played a nice brand of football and in the second half, I just thought there was a lot of areas we have to work on.”
Meanwhile in Swinford, Lisa Cafferky and Rachel Kearns hit two goals each for Peter Leahy’s Mayo side to give them a promising start to their Lidl league campaign.
Donegal never really recovered from Mayo’s bright opening half and left empty handed despite Geraldine McLaughlin and Nicole McLoughlin goals in a 4-7 to 2-9 win for Mayo.
“It wasn’t vintage stuff but it was nice to win,” said a delighted Leahy.
This pitch in Swinford is a bit of a fortress. We haven’t lost here in three years. I’d love to have every game here but we’re in MacHale Park next weekend against Dublin and we’re really looking forward to that. It’ll be a great occasion.
And in Saturday’s historic game, Orla Finn got Cork off to a flying start at Páirc Uí Chaoimh with four quick points, but it was Eimear Scally’s goal midway though the first-half that got the champions up and running by 1-9 to 0-6.
Rachel Dillon and Lucy McCartan pointed for Westmeath before half time but they still trailed 1-5 to 0-3 at the break, and although they closed the gap to four points in the second half Cork kicked on and made sure of the win in the closing stages.
Cork were made to work hard for victory and their manager Ephie Fitzgerald admitted he was a little disappointed by some of their decision-making against a defensive Westmeath set-up.
“It was a tough game. Early on it looked like we might run away with it but fair play to them they stuck in there,” said Fitzgerald.
“We did a lot of sloppy things. We weren't patient enough and took the ball into tackles that we wouldn't normally do. At times we were trying to find the perfect pass, but overall very happy with the result and the display from the players.”
Despite defeat Westmeath manager Sean Finnegan was proud of his side’s performance against the defending champions.
“It's hard to be happy when you lose a match, but we were coming down here to perform and stay in the game,” said Finnegan.
“I am as proud as punch of their effort and determination and their never give in attitude, they were great.”
In Division 2 action, Blaithin Mackin scored a goal in each half as Armagh picked up an away win against Clare in Doonbeg, while Aisling Maguire’s late goal was not enough for Cavan, who fell to Kerry by a single point. Louise Ni Mhuircheartaigh hit a goal in each half for the Kingdom in their 4-8 to 3-10 win.
Monaghan were very impressive winners in Wexford and their 6-23 was the biggest tally scored by any team in the opening round of the national league. And first-half goals from Kelsey Nesbitt and Bridgetta Lynch were vital for Meath, who ran out 2-14 to 2-6 winners against Meath.
In Division 3 Kildare were impressive victors against Fermanagh after an eight-point win, while a late Michelle Farrell goal was not enough for Longford to halt Down, who claimed the honours at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park by 3-8 to 1-7. In Boyle two goals from Sinead Glennon and a third from Jenny Higgins was key in Roscommon’s victory in the North West derby against Sligo, while Sinead McGettigan kicked a late, late equaliser for Wicklow to force a share of the spoils in their clash with Laois.
And in Division 4 there was wins for Carlow over Limerick, Leitrim had a very convincing away win in Derry, while Offaly edged past Antrim by four points.
Lidl National Football League Division 1
Cork 1-9 Westmeath 0-6
Galway 1-15 Waterford 5-4
Dublin 0-10 Tipperary 1-7
Mayo 4-7 Donegal 2-9
Lidl National Football League Division 2
Clare 1-8 Armagh 5-8
Cavan 3-10 Kerry 4-8
Wexford 2-6 Monaghan 6-23
Meath 2-14 Tyrone 2-6
Lidl National Football League Division 3
Longford 1-7 Down 3-8
Roscommon 3-12 Sligo 2-8
Fermanagh 0-12 Kildare 3-11
Laois 2-16 Wicklow 3-13
Lidl National Football League Division 4
Carlow 2-9 Limerick 1-11
Derry 0-3 Leitrim 5-17
Antrim 2-10 Offaly 3-11
Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile