From ‘hell on earth’ to Europe, a young Cambodian’s unlikely journey via Gaelic football

Born in an area labelled by some as “hell on earth”, Touch Phanouch, who grew up near Stung Meanchey – an infamous landfill in Phnom Penh – never imagined he would see the rest of the world outside of Cambodia.

But in July, the 22-year-old will set foot in Europe for the first time. And it will be because of a sport that originated around the 13th century on an island in the North Atlantic Ocean.

Phanouch is a forward at Gaelic football outfit Cairde Khmer GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) Club, set up by Padraig Campbell in October 2017. From six Irish expatriates, the club have since expanded to having 50 locals who play the sport each week.

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