Syrian refugee brother and sister win GAA titles with west Belfast club Patrick Sarsfields
In December 2015, the Soda family arrived in Northern Ireland after fleeing the war-torn Syrian city of Aleppo.
Ahmed Soda was just 11 at the time and didn't speak a word of English. It was, understandably, an overwhelming time in his life.
After settling in Belfast with his family, though, he soon discovered the GAA - and fell in love.
Settling in with west Belfast club Patrick Sarsfields, Ahmed showed his coaches that he had genuine talent with a hurl in his hand. Helping the club to an under-12 trophy, he was tipped to be a future Antrim star by coach Ciaran Doherty.
And it looks as though his budding GAA career is continuing on an upward curve after winning a feile title for Sarsfields' U14 footballers at the weekend.
But it was a doubly proud day for the Soda family as Ahmed's sister, Renad, clinched a feile title with the club's U14 set-up.
The Syrian refugee who hit the headlines Ahmed Soda won a feile title today for @Paddies1906 U14 boys whilst his sister Renad Soda also won a feile title with @Paddies1906 U14 girls in the match before #GAA #sportforlife
Both will represent club and @AontroimGAA in @feilegaa pic.twitter.com/nrcyYk4ILn
— Antrim GAA (@AontroimGAA) April 15, 2018
Having made Belfast their new home, it's heart-warming to hear that the GAA has played its part in making the next chapter in their lives an enjoyable one.
Both Ahmed and Renad will now represent Patrick Sarsfields and Antrim GAA at the national finals.
This is a wonderfully touching story. Considering what Ahmed and Soda have gone through in their young lives, it's pleasing to hear that, not only have they found a new home in Belfast, they have been integrated into the GAA family.
Football, hurling, camogie: they're a huge reason why Ireland is such a proud sporting nation but, more importantly, they're sports that can be enjoyed by anyone and it's to Patrick Sarsfields' immense credit that they have helped Ahmed and Renad feel so welcome over the past couple of years.
Here's hoping for their continued success with the club and, in the near future, county.
Congrats to both our U14 Boys and Girls squads on @AontroimGAA @AntrimLGFA Feile success today. Great displays from both teams today. We now head to @feilegaa to represent @GAASouth and @AontroimGAA pic.twitter.com/piI81sFS30
— Padraíg Saírseíl (@Paddies1906) April 15, 2018