Houlihan's late brace tips the scales for Kerry
New Cork ladies senior football team manager Ephie Fitzgerald has added former county player and Nemo Rangers forward James Masters to his backroom team for the 2016 campaign.
Masters joined Fitzgerald in Brosna for Cork's visit to Kerry in round two of the Lidl Ladies National Football League yesterday, but the holders slumped to a second successive defeat.
Kerry beat the champions by 0-11 to 2-4, but there was good news for Cork as long-serving defenders Deirdre O'Reilly and Bríd Stack both made their first appearances of the season.
Kerry raced into an early 0-6 to 0-0 lead, but an Emma Farmer penalty hauled the Leesiders back into contention before half-time, as the Kingdom held a 0-8 to 1-2 interval lead.
Cork netted within 30 seconds of the restart, Ciara O'Sullivan on target, before a Farmer point put Cork ahead for the first time, leading by 2-3 to 0-8.
Neither side scored for the next 15 minutes before Annie Walsh increased Cork's advantage, but while it took Kerry over 20 minutes to trouble the scoreboard operator in the second half, they finished brilliantly to claim the win.
Aisling Leonard steamed forward for a point before Sarah Houlihan grabbed a late brace to edge it.
Elsewhere, Cora Staunton was at it again as Mayo claimed a second successive victory. Staunton claimed 1-6 as Mayo beat Cork in their opening fixture and she collected 1-9 in yesterday's victory over Dublin. The Westerners beat the Sky Blues by 2-9 to 1-9 in Swinford.
Dublin did outscore Mayo by 2-3 to 1-3 in the second half, but a strong first-half display from the hosts gave them a match-winning platform. Grace Kelly netted their other goal.
Sinead Aherne and Noelle Healy bagged second-half goals for Dublin, but Mayo held out.
Galway made a winning start as they saw off Monaghan by 3-13 to 2-9. Tracey Leonard registered 2-6 for the Tribeswomen, with Megan Glynn also netting for the home side at Tuam Stadium.
Galway led by 1-12 to 2-6 at 1-6 at half-time and were off to the ideal start when Leonard found the net after just 14 seconds.
Aoife McAnespie and Sharon Courtney scored the Monaghan goals, but new Galway boss Willie Ward celebrated his first victory at the helm.
In yesterday's other top-flight game, it was a forgettable outing for Tyrone. Armagh ran out 3-20 to 0-3 winners against the Red Hands in Killyclogher.
Kelly Mallon and Lauren McConville hit 1-3 apiece for the Orchard County, with Aoife McCoy netting the other goal. In Division 2, Westmeath, Donegal, Cavan and Clare all recorded victories as Waterford, Leitrim, Tipperary and Wexford claimed maximum points from their Division 3 outings.
In Division 4, Louth saw off Longford by three points as Wicklow had five points to spare over Limerick.