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Hurler to swap drama on the pitch for roles in TV show and New York stage

By Donnchadh Boyle

Published 01/03/2016

Shane McNaughton playing for Antrim, and (far right) at a sports awards ceremony. Centre: John Lynch and Gillian Anderson filming The Fall in Belfast
Shane McNaughton playing for Antrim, and (far right) at a sports awards ceremony. Centre: John Lynch and Gillian Anderson filming The Fall in Belfast
John Lynch and Gillian Anderson filming The Fall in Belfast
Shane McNaughton at a sports awards ceremony

Cushendall hurler Shane McNaughton will swap Croke Park for Broadway after his club's All-Ireland final clash on St Patrick's Day.

The former Antrim star will head to New York for nine months as he looks to build on his burgeoning acting career.

McNaughton, the son of Saffron great Terence 'Sambo' McNaughton, has already secured a part in hit drama The Fall, which stars X-Files actress Gillian Anderson and Fifty Shades Of Grey's Jamie Dornan, from Co Down.

Explosive new scenes from the show were being shot close to the Belfast Telegraph offices last night, although the BBC kept them well under wraps.

McNaughton explained why he won't be resuming his Antrim career as he prepares to head to the US.

"I've been doing (acting) since I was 16," he said ahead of the AIB All-Ireland club final showpiece against Limerick's Na Piarsaigh. "I was going to school to study it in New York, and then obviously the minor county and that (came along).

"And then I got more involved with hurling and just went straight playing hurling since then, and (acting) is something I've been kind of dabbling in.

"I've been doing plays in Belfast and stuff and I've got a small part in The Fall doing acting stuff and I'm going to New York soon after this. I am doing a play over there."

That play will be based around the 1916 Easter Rising but, despite the exciting new departure on the horizon, McNaughton's entire focus is on securing a historic first All-Ireland club title for Cushendall.

"I was saying to my brother the other day in passing: 'No matter what you do in your life, it doesn't matter if you went on and did something great in some other field, whenever you experience something like this, playing in an All-Ireland final, and you get to share it with the people you have grown up playing with, and your best friends and family, nothing will ever top that'."

Na Piarsaigh star David Breen declared himself fit for the game despite a bad run of injuries recently.

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