Irish Hurler & Author

Zemnako “Zak” Moradi, born in 1991, is a Kurdish-Irish hurler who plays as a left corner-forward for the Leitrim senior team.   Born in a refugee camp in Ramadi, Iraq, at the height of the Gulf War, Zak spent his formative years living under the oppressive regime of Saddam Hussein. Zak moved to Carrick-on-Shannon with his family when he was 11 in 2002.

Zak couldn’t speak English, but when he discovered a talent for hurling, life suddenly took off. Zak credits the GAA with giving him the opportunity to put down roots, forge lifelong friendships and build his own life. He first played competitive hurling at juvenile and underage levels with the St. Mary’s Kiltoghert club in Leitrim. After moving to Dublin, Zak joined the Thomas Davis GAA club.

Zak made his debut on the inter-county scene when he joined the Leitrim senior team in 2012. Since then, he has become a regular member of the starting fifteen. In 2016 Moradi was included on the Lory Meagher Cup Champions 15. In June 2019, he was part of the Leitrim team that won the 2019 Lory Meagher Cup after a 2–23 to 2–22 win against Lancashire at Croke Park.

Growing up in Iraq, Zak’s first love was soccer “there wasn’t much sport around at the time, it was a dictatorship country, and we couldn’t even afford a football.” while he tried various sports in Leitrim, the community spirit of Gaelic games appealed most, and he is proud to represent the sport’s rich and growing diversity. “Sport brings everyone together. The GAA is like a family” he has said.Zak has said about joining the Honorary Board of the Foundation, “I moved to Ireland 20 years ago so I couldn’t be any more Irish now”. Even still, my relationship with the Foundation helped me to understand things I wouldn’t have known about Irish history.  It goes to show how beneficial projects like this can be to people who have come here from abroad and their children – the first, second, third generation Irish people.