Meath manager Davy Nelson knew the significance of getting a first win under his belt as the reigning Lidl NFL Division 1 champions beat Donegal.
Mary-Kate Lynch was the unlikely match-winner for the league and All-Ireland senior championship holders in Letterkenny. The full-back got forward to score the crucial goal in a 1-7 to 0-5 success, on a day when scores were hard to come by.
It was 0-3 to 0-3 at half-time and Donegal struggled on the resumption, Meath picked off their scores and then Lynch’s long range shot evaded Donegal goalkeeper, Aoife McColgan.
“Nothing beats winning and we got the good fortune with the goal,” said Nelson.
“Fitness levels aren’t anywhere near what they’re going to be come May. It’s hard going and you have to earn crumbs in every contact, every possession just to move forward.
“It wasn’t pretty but we’re just content to have come out the right end of things.”
Also on Saturday, last year’s Division 2 champions, Kerry, continued their perfect start with a narrow 3-5 to 0-13 victory away to Mayo at the Connacht GAA Centre of Excellence in Bekan.
It was another keenly contested first half and although Kerry dominated for large periods they only took a 0-5 to 0-4 lead into the break. However, all three second half goals came in Kerry’s favour.
Síofra O’Shea, Lorraine Scanlon and Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh all found the net for another impressive win.
“We got a great one-point win last week in Waterford and another one this week so we’re very happy,” said Kerry joint-manager Declan Quill.
“We got three goals early in the second half and we badly needed them. The goals came from putting direct ball into the forward line and they were probably the only times we did it.
“We’ve lots to work on but going down the road with six points after two games is great and now we’re looking forward to Donegal coming to us next weekend. Hopefully we’ll get a big Kerry crowd out and see where that takes us.”
Galway made one of the biggest statements of the weekend when they beat Dublin comfortably, 1-13 to 0-7, at Tuam Stadium.
The home side only took a 0-6 to 0-4 lead into half-time but they unloaded their bench afterwards, and with the helping of their returning Kilkerrin-Clonberne contingent, and a goal from Leanne Coen, they won again.
“We made a couple of changes and that made a difference, it really helped in terms of retaining possession and holding on to the ball,” said Galway joint-manager Fiona Wynne.
“Our work-rate was phenomenal in the second half. We’ve put a lot of emphasis on working as a team, everyone has a role to play within the team, and I was really impressed with how they gelled together as a team as opposed to individuals.”
For Cork, they needed a last gasp free from the boot of Katie Quirke to earn a 2-9 to 2-9 draw against Munster rivals Waterford in Piltown.
It was 2-4 to 1-3 at half-time in favour of the hosts, with goals from Annie Fitzgerald and Lauren McGregor putting them in charge before Daire Kiely replied.
However, Erika O’Shea scored another Cork goal and despite Emma Murray’s late point, Quirke kept her composure in the 66th minute.
“She didn’t even need the extra ten yards the ref gave her,” said Cork manager Shane Ronayne.
“She’s after coming back from injury, she broke a bone in her foot before Christmas. She played very well last week, she scored 1-1 when she went on.
“We had no doubts about starting her. She’s an excellent free taker, works hard at it. We’re delighted with her.”
Sarah Dillon (two), Anna Jones (two), Rachel Dillon, Ciara Blundell and Kelly Boyce Jordan all found the net as Westmeath had a 7-8 to 0-11 Division 2 win over Laois.
Elsewhere, Monaghan beat Ulster rivals Tyrone 1-12 to 2-4. Armagh secured a 2-13 to 0-12 win against Roscommon, and Tipperary beat Cavan 3-13 to 0-10.
In Division 3, there were victories for Wexford, Down, Louth and Kildare. And in Division 4B, Wicklow and Leitrim were both successful.