Niamh Martin (far right) celebrates with her North Melbourne teammates. Alamy Stock Photo

Irish star smiles through 'sore jaw and a fat lip' with Grand Final spot

Tipperary’s Niamh Martin helped North Melbourne set up a clash with Brisbane in next week’s NAB AFLW showpiece.

NIAMH MARTIN WAS smiling through the pain after North Melbourne beat Adelaide 4.8 (32) to 4.7 (31) to reach their first ever NAB AFLW Grand Final.

The former Tipperary star did not require a HIA assessment after suffering a couple of heavy blows, with coach Darren Crocker insisting she just had “a sore jaw and a fat lip” at the final whistle.

A one-point victory sets up a historic clash with Brisbane next week, and a reunion with Martin’s former Tipp teammate Orla O’Dwyer after she led the Lions to victory over Geelong alongside Dubliner Jennifer Dunne the previous day.

“I said to the group even before the game – you have to earn the right to get into a Grand Final. Preliminary finals are so hard to get through,” Crocker said.

“Whether there was a bit of resolve from last year, whether there’s been a bit of resolve from some of the close losses we’ve had this year – I thought in the last quarter, the players were just super, the way they just found, they dug really, really deep.

“We probably didn’t play our best footy at times, and Adelaide would probably say the same, it was a bit of a struggle for both teams, to try and get the game looking the way both teams would have liked. That win was full of character.”

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