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Leitrim Hurlers Aim To Make History With First Appearance At Croke Park

Leitrim Hurlers Aim To Make History With First Appearance At Croke Park

Today, Croke Park will host the Lory Meagher Cup Final. For Leitrim, it will be a historic day. This is will be the first time that their senior hurlers have ever played in Croke Park.

They face Warwickshire, who are going into the match as hot favourites. Warwickshire previously won the Lory Meagher in 2013 and will be expecting nothing else but a win today.

A team comprised mostly with hurlers from Tipperary, Waterford and Antrim, but based in Birmingham, have the odd in their favour. Antrim's Liam Watson is their ace, and when these two sides met in the group stages, it resulted in a 2-12 to 1-11 victory for Warwickshire.

But for the Leitrim side, this will not deter them from aiming for a win. Speaking with the Leitrim Observer, long-serving Leitrim hurler Kevin McGrath has said they can't let the nerves get the better of them.

I suppose you walk around, take everything in but after the first crack of a hurley across the back of the legs, you wake up fairly quickly. As it happens, we’ve won three games, we’re now in Croke Park. You’ve a better chance of playing in Croke Park hurling than with football. Whatever level it is, it is still a national final whatever way you look at it

During the final today, it will also be most likely the first time an Iranian-Kurdish refugee will play in a national final. After the breakout of the Gulf War in 1991, Zak Moradi and his family left their native Ramadi and arrived in Carrick-on-Shannon. Moradi was 11 at the time and couldn't speak any English.

A young Zak was introduced to GAA and he hasn't looked back since. Speaking with the Irish Times, the 26-year-old said it took him a while to get used to hurling.

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It took me a year or two to get used to it. I started later than everybody else. I was starting when I was 11. They were starting when they were six. Gaelic football is much easier because it’s like soccer.

Zak now plays hurling for the Thomas Davis club in Tallaght, but his loyalty lies with Leitrim. He admits himself that he feels more at home in Ireland, rather than the Middle East, all thanks to the sport.

When you play GAA, you become part of the community and part of the culture.

There won't be a stag party served in Carrick-On-Shannon if Leitrim win this afternoon.

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Ellen McConville

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