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Huge recognition for Tipp and Brisbane star O'Dwyer to put icing on dream AFLW season

The 2021 Premiership champion is the Lions’ Best and Fairest runner-up.

THE ICING HAS been put on top of a dream Australian Football League Women’s [AFLW] season for Orla O’Dwyer, the Tipperary dual star finishing runner-up in Brisbane Lions’ Best and Fairest Awards.

O’Dwyer was instrumental each and every step of the way as Brisbane were crowned 2021 Premiers in last weekend’s historic Grand Final win over Adelaide Crows.

In just her second season in the AFLW, the 22-year-old enjoyed a simply stunning individual campaign and fell just short of winning the champions’ overall Player of the Year award.

(In Australian sport, the Best and Fairest recognises the player(s) adjudged to have had the best performance over a season for a given sporting club or competition, and is generally voted on by players.)

Ally Anderson claimed the top gong on the narrowest of margins with O’Dwyer, a top Gaelic football and camogie player on these shores, not far off, but finishing up with huge recognition.

“Irish import Orla O’Dwyer underlined her rapid improvement with a second-place finish in the tightest vote count in the Club’s AFLW history,” a statement from the Lions reads.

Screenshot 2021-04-24 at 15.34.22 O'Dwyer on the ball for Brisbane in last weekend's Grand Final. Source: Brisbane Lions.

Praise has poured in for O’Dwyer online since the announcement — which brought a rousing reception from her team-mates — her notable improvement key through her side’s rise this year. Her athleticism was a huge asset; her run-and-carry and tackling of particular note on the wing, as was her goal-kicking.

“Huge congrats Orla, runner-up of Brisbane Lions’ Best & Fairest 2021,” AFL Ireland Women’s wrote on Twitter. “And within 5 votes of actually taking it out. AMAZING.”

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Anderson finished with 155 votes, O’Dwyer with 150.

“Ending the week on a high,” the Boherlahan footballer and Cashel camogie club woman wrote on Instagram this morning.

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Emma Duffy

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