Mulcahy hits hat-trick to sink Kildare
LETHAL forward Valerie Mulcahy scored 3-3 as defending champions Cork beat Kildare in their first Bord Gais Energy National Football League match of the new season.
Cork's proposed opening fixture against Mayo fell foul of the weather last weekend, but the Munster champions blew off the cobwebs to inflict a first defeat of the season on Kildare.
Cork ran out 4-11 to 0-15 winners in Ballykelly and three second-half goals eventually accounted for the home side yesterday.
At half-time, Cork held a slender one-point lead, 1-5 to 0-7, and a plucky Kildare outfit went ahead in the second half before Cork scored the match-winning goals.
Mulcahy's sixth-minute penalty handed Cork an early boost but Kildare refused to be overawed and the eventual eight-point margin of victory flattered the Leesiders.
Mulcahy grabbed a second goal 12 minutes into the second half, Nollaig Cleary netted seven minutes later before Mulcahy completed her hat-trick five minutes from time.
In Division 2, Kerry made it two wins from two with a 1-13 to 2-5 victory against Cavan in Bawnboy.
But the visitors, who had roared into an early 1-3 to 0-0 lead, had to withstand a late Cavan fightback before securing maximum points.
Sarah Houlihan scored a superb early goal to set Kerry on their way but they survived a real scare when Dana Clerkin missed a first-half penalty for Cavan.
At half-time, the Kingdom led comfortably by 1-8 to 0-2 but a 34th-minute goal from Sinead Green rallied the home side.
Clerkin atoned for her earlier penalty miss by scoring a well-taken goal with eight minutes of normal time left to bring Cavan to within two points, 2-5 to 1-10, but Kerry held on for victory.