First fixtures in the Northern Ireland Women’s FA 2022 season featured a 5-5 draw for Shamrock at Banbridge Rangers after trailing 4-0.
St James Swifts got their championship campaign off to a flying start with a comfortable 7-2 win over recently promoted Ballymacash Rangers, thanks to goals from Mollie White, Anna Whibley, Chloe Doak, Amber Dempster, Claire Shaw and a brace from Aimee Johnston. Swifts had led 2-0 only to see Ballymacash level through two well taken Shelly Stothers strikes before the hosts eased back into a winning lead.
Ballymena United also made a strong opening with a great 4-0 victory at Killen Rangers, thanks to strikes from Chelsea Millar, Hannah Firth and two from recent signing Olivia Brown.
Larne picked up the points defeating Comber Rec 4-1 at Inver Park, with Teah Maguire, Amanda Morton, Georgia Crawford on target, plus an own-goal.
Lisburn Rangers look like once again they will be the team to beat, as they brushed aside Ballyclare Comrades 6-0, Ellie-Mae Dickson contributing a double. This was Ballyclare’s first game since merging with Carnmoney and they will have been delighted with an attendance of over 200.
The game between Belfast Celtic and Crewe United finished 1-1 but Crewe were given a three-point deduction and forfeited the match due to fielding ineligible players in the game.
Armagh City and Bangor fought out a thriller with Armagh eventually winning 3-2, Edith McCormick scoring twice.
BEST OF THE REST
In Division Two there were wins for two of the promoted sides; Camlough Rovers and Kilmore Rec, who beat Ballynahinch and Larne Olympic 2-1 and 3-2 respectively. Ballyclare Comrades Reserves drew 3-3 with Ballymena United Seconds.
In Division three there were big wins for Ballymoney United and Antrim Rovers over Ambassadors and Belfast Ravens respectively, with Greenisland picking up three points on the road as they defeated Rosario 2-1. Shamrock amazingly came back from 4-0 down at Banbridge Rangers to draw 5-5.
In Division Four, Craigavon City had a big win over Moneyslane, as did Strabane Athletic who comfortably dispatched Ballymoney United Reserves. Dromara Village and 22nd Ladies drew 3-3.
Division Five has been split into two regional sections this season, with Futuro Falcons, Lisburn Distillery and Comber Rec Reserves all getting off to winning starts in the Eastern Section, with Maiden City, Lisbellaw United and Mid Ulster Reserves doing likewise in the Western section.