Houlihan's firepower books final place for Kingdom
Kerry 2-16 Waterford 1-6
Reigning TG4 Munster champions Kerry got their title defence off to a surprisingly easy start against Waterford that belied their troubled NFL campaign.
Goals in either half from Sarah Houlihan and Andrea Murphy capped a confident Kerry performance that puts them back in a TG4 Munster final where they will meet Cork on June 23.
Sarah Houlihan's 24th-minute penalty goal separated the teams at half time, 1-4 to 0-4. Houlihan - who accounted for all of Kerry's first-half scores - kicked the game's first score in the seventh minute.
Lauren McGregor converted a Déise free in the 11th minute but a succession of wides kept Kerry in the contest despite losing forward ace Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh to a shoulder injury in the first quarter.
Two more Houlihan points had Kerry in front when the Beaufort player was fouled in the process of working the ball to the Waterford net, and the same player coolly placed her penalty kick beyond Gráinne Kenneally to make it 1-3 to 0-2.
As the game opened up Eimear Fennell converted from a free and then from play to bring Waterford back to within two before Houlihan won and converted a free to leave Kerry three up at the break.
Kerry kicked the first three scores of the second half and when Andrea Murphy finished off a great Kerry move with a goal in the 44th minute, there was only one winner.
Lorraine Scanlon kicked three points in a tour de force from midfield, as Houlihan finished with a goal and nine points, and not even a late Waterford goal from substitute Maria Delahunty could take the shine off a great Kerry win to set up that TG4 Munster final with Cork.
Scorers - Kerry: S Houlihan 1-9 (1-0 pen, 3f), A Murphy 1-2, L Scanlon 0-3 (1f), E Dineen, A O'Callaghan 0-1 each. Waterford: M Delahunty 1-2, E Fennell (1f), A Wall, L McGregor (1f), M Ryan 0-1 each.
Kerry - L Fitzgerald; L Coughlan, S Murphy, E Lynch; D Kearney, A Desmond, A O'Connell; L Scanlon, A Brosnan; A Foley, L Ni Mhuircheartaigh, E Dineen; A Murphy, E O'Leary, S Houlihan. Subs: S Burns for L Ni Mhuircheartaigh (inj, 12), K O'Sullivan for S Burns (47), A O'Callaghan for A Brosnan (48), C O'Connor for A Foley (56), M Barry for A Murphy (58).
Waterford - G Kenneally; R Casey, M McGrath, Kate McGrath; M Wall, C McCarthy, M Dunford; Karen McGrath, K Murray; A Murray, M Ryan, L McGregor; A Wall, E Fennell, K Corbett Barry. Subs: S Ryan for E Fennell (39), A Mullaney for C McCarthy, M Delahunty for K Murray (47), C McGrath for L McGregor (53).
Ref - J Mullins (Limerick)
Looney makes Tipp pay penalty
Cork 2-12 Tipperary 1-10
Hot favourites Cork began their TG4 Munster ladies football championship with an expected win in Ardfinnan on Saturday afternoon, but were pushed all the way by Tipperary.
The favourites had a goal before the first minute was played, with Bríd O'Sullivan hand passing to the net. However, Tipp responded almost immediately when Ashling Maloney sent an unstoppable shot to the net.
Cork kept the pressure on, with O'Sullivan, Orlagh Farmer, and Libby Coppinger all scoring. Hannah Looney converted a penalty after Lauren Fitzpatrick brought down Coppinger and by the interval it was 2-6 to 1-5 to the visitors.
Cork did enough to keep the scoreboard moving in their favour, with Ciara O'Sullivan, Eimear Scally and Doireann O'Sullivan keeping Tipp at arm's length, while Orla Finn was as reliable as ever with the frees.
It was midway into the second-half when Tipp got their first score of that period, as Mairead Morrissey's goal-bound effort was tipped over the bar by keeper Lauren Fitzpatrick, but Cork were always good value for their victory.
Scorers - Cork: O Finn 0-4 (3f), B O'Sullivan, H Looney (1-0 pen) 1-0 each, C O'Sullivan, D O'Sullivan, E Scally 0-2 each, O Farmer, L Coppinger 0-1 each Tipperary: A Moloney 1-2, A McCarthy 0-4 (3f), M Morrissey 0-2, R Howard 0-1, O O'Dwyer 0-1
Cork - M O'Brien; C Collins, E Meaney, E Spillane; M O'Callaghan, M Duggan, S Kelly; B O'Sullivan, A Hutchings; C O'Sullivan, D O'Sullivan, O Farmer; E Scally, L Coppinger, O Finn Subs: E Scally for B O'Sullivan (h-t), A Kelleher for M Duggan (60)
Tipperary - L Fitzpatrick; B Condon, M Curley, E Buckley; E Cronin, S Lambert, J Grant; C Condon, O O'Dwyer; A Moloney, A McCarthy, AR Kennedy; M Morrissey, N Lonergan, R Howard Subs: L Dillon for E Buckley (13), G O'Brien for C Condon (42), K Davey for N Lonergan (51)
Ref - S Mulvihill (Kerry)