Terence McNaughton

Terence ‘Sambo’ McNaughton was not born into a hurling tradition, but this interview underscores the extent the game has influenced his life. Growing up in Cushendall in Antrim, McNaughton followed his older brothers in taking up a hurling and he refers to how hurling helped him during difficult early years. He was 16 years old when he first played senior hurling for the club, the same year the club won its first senior county title. This is one of a number career highlights in McNaughton’s career and he reflects on others with club and county – which include reaching the 1989 All-Ireland final with Antrim. Reflecting without regret on his playing career, McNaughton believes that the Antrim team of the late 1980s, early 1990s might have achieved more. He talks about the friendships he made through the game and the far-flung places he visited when playing it. As well commenting upon the roles of clergy and the media on GAA life, he addresses the issue of politics and perceived association with Irish nationalism. He provides clear insights into the impact of the Troubles, discussing both his own personal experience and that of the wider GAA community in the north. He charts also the great changes that have taken place in the north and how this has transformed the experience of GAA members. He acknowledges the efforts the GAA has made to develop hurling in Ulster and to reach out to the Protestant/unionist community and he considers their prospects for success. However McNaughton voices concerns at certain development in the GAA such as the treatment of clubs and their players, reports about the payment of managers and the undervaluing of local voluntary effort. For all that, the GAA has played a key role in shaping both his personality and his life and he emphasises the positive benefits to the Association.

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