First-half goals by Niamh McEvoy and Rebecca McDonnell fired All-Ireland champions Dublin to an opening Lidl National League win over Donegal in Letterkenny.
In a fierce O’Donnell Park gale, scoring was at a premium, but the Dubs left with the loot thanks to a pair of majors from which the hosts never recovered.
There was a stroke of good fortune around Dublin’s opening goal with Donegal ‘keeper Laura Gallagher caught out by a dropping ball in from McEvoy that landed in the Tir Chonaill net.
Before Donegal had time to really shake their heads clear, the Dubs – fielding seven of their All-Ireland winning side – were in for a second goal.
Again, Donegal’s rearguard will have had questions to answer and Rebecca McDonnell slotted into the net after a scramble on the edge of the square.
Donegal had been in for an early goal chance of their own, but Sarah Jane McDonald just missed out on a connection to a low delivery from Karen Guthrie.
Two Guthrie frees were the sum total of the Donegal efforts in the opening period, but Yvonne Bonner narrowed the margin with an early second-half score.
Without Geraldine McLaughlin, Donegal certainly lacked a punch in the front division, while Yvonne Bonner spent a lot of time out the field.
Donegal included several new and returned faces among their ranks with Republic of Ireland internationals Ciara Grant and teenager Amy Boyle-Carr given game time for this one.
But Donegal were kept at arm’s length as Carla Rowe, Eabha Rutledge and Oonagh Whyte maintained Dublin’s advantage.
Although Guthrie kept the home side in check, Donegal – in their first game under the management of Maxi Curran and Damian Devaney – couldn’t quite get close enough to raise a panic.
Karen Guthrie 0-05 (3f)
Yvonne Bonner 0-02 (1f)
Niamh McEvoy 1-00
Rebecca McDonnell 1-00
C Rowe 0-02 (2f)
L Davey 0-01
Eabha Rutledge 0-01
Oonagh Whyte 0-01
L Gallagher; T Doherty, N McLaughlin, O McCafferty; A.M McGlynn, C Hegarty, A McDonnell; K Herron, E Gallagher; K Guthrie, N Hegarty, B McLaughlin; B Gallagher, Y Bonner, S.J McDonald.
C Grant for B.Gallagher (28), E Ward for McDonald (45), A Boyle-Carr for Grant (48), G Houston for McCafferty (53)
C Trant; M Byrne, K Murray, L McGinley; L Caffrey, Muireann Ni Scanaill, N Collins; L Magee, O Carey; C Rowe, L Davey, S Rutledge; S McCaffrey, N McEvoy, O White.
R McDonnell for McCarthy (20), A Kane for Ni Scanaill (39), N Owens for Rowe (39), D Lawless for McGinley (45), L Collins for Magee (48), S Ahern for Whyte (50), E Flanagan for Murray (50), H O’Neill for McDonnell (53), J Buckley for Rutledge (57), K Fitzgibbon for McEvoy (57).
Referee: G Carmody (Roscommon).
Video Credit: Jerome Quinn Media