Armagh 3-12 Waterford 2-8
Three second half goals guided Armagh over the line against a resilient Waterford side on Saturday afternoon.
The 2020 Junior All-Ireland winners began their title defence on home soil and were seven points clear at the final whistle.
Ciara Donnelly, Eimear Smyth and Colette McSorley all hit the net as Mattie Lennon’s side earned a seven-point win.
Two points in as many minutes from Orlagh Murray and Leanne Donnelly got Armagh off the mark.
Rachael Merry and Eimear Smyth doubled the home sides tally as Waterford shot back into the game.
The Munster side rattled home 1-2 to take the lead at the water break. Bernie Murray levelled the game on the restart.
Murray and Ciara Donnelly exchanged scores with the opposition to remain on square. A superb save from Emma Mone kept the score tied at the break, 0-7 to 1-4.
Armagh took the ascendancy 60 seconds into the second period. Ciara Donnelly pulled on a loose ball inside the square and her side never looked back.
Leanne Donnelly powered through the Waterford defence and drove over her second point from the resulting puck out.
The Armagh momentum continued with the older Donnelly (2) and Granemore’s Merry stretching the margin to seven.
Waterford did halt the scoring spree for a moment with a point. Armagh were in no mood to let up.
Eimear Smyth slotted home her sides second goal, as she reacted quickest to Ciara Donnelly’s shot coming back off the post.
Colette McSorley grabbed a goal with the final action of the game, to match Waterford’s fourth quarter three-pointer.
Mattie Lennon will be pleased with how his side won comfortably in the end, but the concession of two goals will be cause for concern.
Armagh sit top of their group after one game and will now take on Wexford for the third time this season.
Having fallen to two defeats against the Yellow bellies in the league, revenge will surely be part of Armagh’s motivation.
Armagh: Emma Mone, Aislinn Harvey, Nicola Woods, Ellen Lavery, Louise Toner, Grainne McWilliams, Eimear Hayes, Michelle McArdle, Leanne Donnelly 0-2, Orlagh Murray 0-1, Bernie Murray 0-2, Sinead Kiernan, Rachael Merry 0-2, Ciara Donnelly 1-4, Eimear Smyth 1-1. Subs: Orlagh Curry for S. Kiernan, Gemma McCann for L. Toner, Stephanie Curry for N. Woods, Colette McSorley 1-0 for B. Murray.