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Blues put down an early marker as they begin defence of title

By Adam McKendry

Linfield Ladies got their Danske Bank Women's Premiership title defence off to a perfect start with a 5-2 opening night victory over Sion Swifts.

Kirsty McGuinness netted a first half brace, however they only led 2-1 at the break as Kendra McMullan replied for Sion.

But in the second half it was all one way traffic for the Blues as Lyndsey Corry, Sarah Venney and Chloe McCarron all found the back of the net.

Lauren Harper netted a consolation goal for the Swifts, but they were powerless to stop Linfield, who top the table at this early stage on goal difference from Newry City Ladies, who defeated Crusaders Strikers 4-2.

Newry's Trudi Harbinson got two early goals, before Crusaders keeper Leigh Skelton had the misfortune of seeing a shot rebound in off her back.

The hosts rallied in the second half through a Danielle McDowell goal, only for Harbinson to wrap up her hat-trick with a fine finish before Julie Nelson added a consolation for Crusaders.

In the opening round's other game a hat-trick from Celine Curtis gave Cliftonville Ladies a 3-1 victory over Ballymena United All-Stars at the Dub.

The Northern Ireland international scored twice before the break and then sealed her treble midway through the second half.

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