From Cambodia with GAA love – the Asian club desperately chasing a Derry dream

Two teams with a difference are hoping to make it to the World Games this summer.

The pandemic threw almost everything off keel. Almost no part of life is exactly as it was before, and the GAA club in Cambodia, Cairde Khmer, is no exception.

Prior to Covid, the club set up by Tyrone’s Paddy Campbell in 2017 was typical of most international GAA units, populated mostly by Irish expats and their friends. The pandemic changed everything with many returning home, meaning that if Cairde Khmer was to survive it needed new blood. Local blood.

Slowly, one or two curious Cambodians became a handful and then the majority. When they participated in the recent Asian Games, Ronan Sheehan, a Kanturk native and Cairde Khmer secretary, reckons their team was 85pc Cambodian.

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