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Sports Direct NI Women’s Premiership

Glentoran Women kicked off their defence of the Sports Direct Women's Premiership with an impressive six-goal defeat of Crusaders Strikers.

There were also victories on the opening day of the new campaign for last season's runners-up Cliftonville Ladies, newly promoted Lisburn Rangers and their near neighbours Lisburn Ladies.

Glentoran moved in front at the Blanchflower Stadium midway through the first half after Emily Wilson had teed Joely Andrews up to knock the opening goal past keeper Maddy Harvey-Clifford.

Demi Vance added a second just five minutes after that before, just past the half-hour mark, Aimee Neal nodded home Glentoran's third for what was her first goal for the club.

Kerry Beattie, from the spot, effectively killed the game off early in the second half with number four before substitute Rachel Rogan hit a further two goals right at the end to wrap up a successful start to the new campaign for the east Belfast side.

Cliftonville Ladies got off to a winning start with a five-star performance against Mid Ulster Ladies at Stangmore Park.

Danielle Maxwell grabbed the fastest goal of the day when, as early as the second minute, she got on the end a perfectly weighted Louise McDaniel pass to beat Nikola Kundekova with a composed finish from ten yards.

McDaniel doubled up for the Reds a quarter-of-an-hour later with a strike into the corner of the net after skipping past a couple of defenders before, in the latter stages of the first half, Kirsty McGuinness blasted number three into the roof of the net from the six yard box.

McGuinness then turned provider on 75 minutes with a cross for McDaniel to run onto and double her tally for the afternoon from point blank range.

The Reds then extended their advantage with seven minutes remaining through Carla Devine who knocked the ball beyond Kundekova from the edge of the area.

Lisburn Rangers, who have already reached the League Cup final, marked their Premiership debut with victory over Derry City Women at the Brandywell.

Erin McGreevy had the honours of grabbing the first goal of the new season when, on 43 minutes, she knocked the opener past City keeper Molly McBride.

That was how it stayed until, with a quarter-of-an-hour remaining, Ellie Redden levelled for the Candystripes.

However Faye Loughran claimed the points for the visitors with just a couple of minutes left on the clock.

And, at Inver Park, Lisburn Ladies defeated Larne Women by the same scoreline.

Scoreless for most of the first half, the game roared into life moments from the break when Hollie Johnston fired Larne in front in stoppage time when she was quickest to react to the rebound after Ella Parker's initial effort had been pushed out by keeper Jessica Poots.

However the visitors equalised almost immediately through the experienced Stacey Murdough to send the time in at the break on a level footing.

And, perhaps boosted by this, it only took Lisburn six minutes of the second to seize the advantage themselves when Rachel Kerr turned home what proved to be the winner from the edge of the area.

The season continues on Friday night (10th May) with another four fixtures:- Cliftonville Ladies v Derry City Women, Larne Women v Lisburn Rangers (both 7:45pm); Crusaders Strikers v Mid Ulster Ladies and Lisburn Ladies v Linfield Women (both 8pm).