The race for TG4 Munster ladies senior football championship glory began with a bang on Saturday afternoon as Pat Sullivan’s Waterford shocked Kerry at Fraher Field in Dungarvan.
The Déise ran out 2-9 to 1-9 winners against the Kingdom, and have now given themselves a real shot at qualifying for the provincial decider.
In the round-robin series, Waterford will face Cork next month, before Kerry face the Rebelettes.
Second half goals from Michelle Ryan and Roisin Tobin proved crucial for Waterford, who led by seven points before Kerry staged a late revival.
Maria Delahunty notched six of Waterford’s seven first half points as the hosts established a 0-7 to 0-6 half-time lead.
Aileen Wall also raised a white flag for Waterford in the opening half, as Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh (2), Anna Galvin, Amanda Brosnan, Miriam O’Keeffe and Sarah Houlihan registered Kerry points.
The second half began in excellent fashion for Waterford as Ryan netted and Tobin’s goal later in the half was the killer blow.
Behind by 0-8 to 2-9, Kerry tried to work their way back into contention and they did, as Ní Mhuircheartaigh pointed before Laura Rogers scored their goal.
But the clock ran out on Kerry and Waterford were left to celebrate their first victory in the Munster senior championship since regaining senior status with a 2015 TG4 All-Ireland intermediate win.
Last year, Kerry beat Waterford twice, in Munster and an All-Ireland qualifier, with an aggregate 16 points to spare.
But Waterford turned the tables in style and this result is the first major shock of the 2017 senior campaign, and on the opening day.
Meanwhile, in the TG4 Munster intermediate championship, Clare enjoyed a big 7-11 to 2-3 victory over Limerick.
Last year’s beaten All-Ireland finalists Clare kicked off their campaign in style in Kilmallock, and had raced into a 3-0 to 0-2 lead within 14 minutes.
Limerick registered the opening two points of the game but they were caught by three quick-fire goals, as Catriona Callinan, Grainne Nolan and Tara Kelly all netted for the Banner County.
At half-time, Clare were 3-2 to 1-3 clear, before pulling away in the second half. Sarah Bohannan scored their fourth goal in the 38th minute and further green flags followed from Nolan and a Ciara Hickey brace.
Words by Jackie Cahill