By Oisín McGovern
Lisa Cafferky scored their goal as Mayo kickstarted Group A of the TG4 All-Ireland Senior Championship with a big victory over Tipperary.
The hosts made the best of a strong wind in the first-half at MacHale Park in Castlebar, to bounce back following their Connacht final defeat against Galway last time out.
Mayo started fast and reeled off 1-3 after Tipperary’s Marie Creedon landed the opener within seconds of the throw-in. Michael Moyles’ side found the net just eight minutes in when full-forward Tara Needham slipped a beautiful hand pass into Lisa Cafferky, who calmly rolled it into the net.
Mayo continued to impress, with Sinéad Walsh and Tara Needham kicking over some lovely scores in the first half. But Emma Morrissey had just scored her second free of the afternoon when Mayo almost conceded a goal, with Creedon on target for a point instead, after a misplaced kickout.
The home side responded when Tara Needham kicked two great points before half-time while Shauna Howley added another after a lovely team move. And Tipperary spurned another good goal chance with Morrissey’s blasted effort finishing wide of the goalposts.
Facing into the wind with a 1-10 to 0-4 lead at the start of the second half, Mayo’s attack slowed. The home team hit a number of wides but retained enough possession to keep their opponents at bay.
Morrissey was still leading the charge up front for Tipperary, hitting their only point from play in the second half. And Mayo manager Moyles was able to run his bench as his team adopted a more conservative approach in the testing conditions.
A late save by Lauren Fitzpatrick denied Lisa Cafferky a second goal, and a 66th finish from Niamh Martin was a minor consolation as the visitors began with a difficult defeat.
Scorers – Mayo: L Cafferky 1-2 (1f), S Walsh 0-4, S Howley 0-4, (2f), S Cafferky 0-2, T Needham 0-2, C Needham 0-1, T O’Connor 0-1.
Tipperary: E Morrissey 0-4 (3f), Niamh Martin 1-0, M Creedon 0-2.
MAYO: A Tarpey; É Ronayne, D Caldwell, S Lally; C Needham, F McHale, K Sullivan; S Cafferky, S McCarney; A Geraghty, S Walsh, S Mulvihill; L Cafferky, T Needham, S Howley
Subs: T O’Connor for Mulvihill (40), J Mortimer for McHale (49), L Wallace for Sullivan (51), C Whyte for T Needham (52), N McVann for Lally (57).
TIPPERARY: L Fitzpatrick; E Moore, M Curley, E Cronin; L Spillane, Niamh Martin, M Murphy; C O’Dwyer, C English; Nora Martin, M Creedon, E Kelly; C Hennessy, N Shelly, E Morrissey.
Subs: A O’Shea for Shelly (18), S Quirke for Moore (38), N Mackey for Nora Martin (47), A Delaney for Hennessy (49), S Ryan for Murphy (54).
Ref – Shane Curley (Galway).