The league got off to a cracking start and few will be happier than Limerick, after they downed All-Ireland champions Cork at Rathkeale's Mick Neville Park by 1-11 to 0-9. There were a number of unfamiliar faces in both red and green and if Paudie Murray was more experimental, John Tuohy must have been delighted by how his blend of youth and experience operated in his first competitive game as successor to Joe Quaid.
The key score arrived in the second half, when Niamh Mulcahy’s free was batted out but Sinead McNamara was on hand to pick up the pieces and bundle a goal. That gave them the breathing space to hold on for a deserved victory.
In the other Group 2 game, it was easy for Ann Downey's Kilkenny as they blitzed Derry 5-9 to 0-1 at Conahy Shamrocks. Áine Gannon fired the first goal and Denise Gaule got another just before the break to make it 2-6 to 0-0. Sarah Ann Quinlan found the net 10 minutes after resumption and Derry resistance was broken in the closing moments, when Michelle Quilty and Quinlan also raised green flags. Karen Kielt was the sole scorer for the Oak Leafers.
With the Wexford-Clare tie postponed due to the waterlogged pitch in Clane, there were just two games in Group 1 also. Galway got the defence of their title off to the perfect start with a 3-7 to 0-5 win over Tipperary at The Ragg.
Meanwhile, a strong second half performance gave Offaly the hard-earned points by 0-10 to 0-6 against Dublin in Banagher. The visitors led by the minimum at the break but with Orlagh Kirwan’s radar fine-tuned, the hosts turned it around.
In Division 2, Meath were well on top in the derby game against Westmeath, 5-12 to 2-3, while five points from Niamh Mallon earned Down a draw with Kilkenny. Six points from Louise Mahony saw Laois edge out neighbours Carlow by 0-9 to 0-7, and eight points from Susie O'Carroll gave Kildare a winning start by 0-9 to 2-2 against Wexford.