The multi-cultural element of the GAA has been there for all residing in Ireland to see since the Celtic Tiger years. Particularly in urban areas, it is not unusual to see players from African or eastern European descent lining out for their local GAA clubs all over the country.
The most recent flow of immigration into Ireland has been people from war-torn Syria. Flocks of people from that country are leaving a brutal civil war and travelling to Europe in search of a better life.
An important part of immigration is integration and one young Syrian has done just that. Muhammad Al Haj Kadour played for the Michael Davitts club at the weekend, making a scoring debut for the club’s U-10 team, reports the Belfast Telegraph.
Michael Davitt’s team mentor Micheal O’Brien is quoted in the paper as saying:
“Muhammad obviously said to Mickey (Hughes, team coach) that he wanted to play hurling for our club.
“We would train weekly on a Tuesday night on the park in the Lower Falls on the 3G. He started coming along and was very, very keen,” said the mentor of the Aleppo-born youngster.
Some of Kadour’s family don’t speak English but that doesn’t stop him making friends and playing and loving the national game in his new homeland.
“The smile on this child’s face, and the background from where he was is a pleasure to me,” added O’Brien.
The club posted the picture of Muhammed Al Haj Kadour to Twitter, where he has become somewhat of a viral hit.
— Micheal O Brien (@Shortstick15) April 15, 2017
We are sure to see more and more kids like Kadour grace the fields over the coming years. It shows, that unlike the stereotype, particularly in the north, that the GAA is not just for Irish Catholics, but it is a sport, like any other, there for everyone to enjoy.
Joel Slattery, Pundit Arena