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Dublin: 10°C Wednesday 20 January 2021

Born in Iraq, raised on GAA: Zak Moradi's incredible journey to Croke Park

The Leitrim forward is probably the best hurler to ever come out of Iraq.


‘HURLING’ AND ‘IRAQ’ are two words that are not usually associated with each other, but for one of Leitrim’s top hurlers, the Middle East was home for the first 11 years of his life.

Earlier this year in a piece by Kevin O’Brien, Leitrim’s Zak Moradi spoke about growing up in Iraq, moving to Ireland, and falling in love with the small ball.

Zak Moradi arrived in Carrick-on-Shannon 15 years ago, fleeing Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship in Iraq. It was in St Mary’s National School where he was first introduced to Gaelic Games by Leitrim hurler Clement Cunniffe.

 ”I didn’t know what it was. I thought it was hockey or cricket, whatever it was.”

Fast forward to 2017 and Moradi now lines out with Cunniffe for the Leitrim hurlers and was part of this year’s Lory Meagher Cup Champions 15 selection – their version of the All Stars.

Zak’s story and more of our favourite stories from the past year feature in Behind The Lines, our debut book which was published in November.

Behind the Lines is available in all good bookshops and from the link below.

The42 has just published its first book, Behind The Lines, a collection of some of the year’s best sports stories. Pick up your copy in Eason’s, or order it here today (€10):

About the author:

Eoin Lúc Ó Ceallaigh

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