Hurling and camogie

All 83 used hurls collected from McNaughton household

The 83 hurls that were left out by the McNaughtons for passers-by to take

AFTER leaving 83 used hurls out their front door in Cushendall for passers-by to take, former Antrim hurler Shane McNaughton confessed that it “saved us hiring a skip”.

All 83 hurls have now found a new home since the McNaughtons did a clear-out of their garage at the weekend.

Christy McNaughton, the youngest son in the McNaughton household, posted on social media that if “any parent would like to come take a hurl for themselves or their child to keep up the training in the garden over this lockdown then call over and lift away.”

Elder brother Shane also posted an image of the hurling sticks on social media and joked that the “time was right” to retire from hurling – even though he hadn’t played a competitive game in four years.

“I decided that the time was right,” tweeted Shane. “I am retiring from hurling 83 hurling sticks out the front of the house for anyone that wants or needs them. There was 84 but Henry Shefflin signed one and I sleep with that so, some would be better suited to ‘cappin’ cows all the same.”

Shane’s tweet went viral with many people wishing him well in ‘retirement’.

When contacted by The Irish News yesterday, Shane was surprised by the reaction to his post.

“Truth be told, it saved us hiring a skip,” joked the Cushendall man.

“It was a bit of fun. There wasn’t one hurl among them that you would have played with in a match. My father [Terence] lined all the hurls up – but I don’t think people realised I hadn’t been playing hurling for four f****** years.

“It was a very eye-catching image and people like that sort of thing.”

Irish rugby star Rob Kearney, hurling great Henry Shefflin and former Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams were among those who reacted to the social media post.

“Rob Kearney, the Irish rugby player, Henry Shefflin commented on it and Gerry Adams retweeted it,” Shane said.

“There were people from Canada and Newfoundland too, and people all around Ireland asking could they come up and get a few sticks. I’m thinking: ‘Can you not get sticks down south?’”

McNaughton stopped playing hurling for the Ruairi Ogs and Antrim in 2016 to pursue an acting career in New York. He returned home at the end of February after a successful theatre run with the play ‘The 8th’ in which he was nominated for best actor.

It’s unlikely he’ll return Stateside until the coronavirus pandemic subsides on both sides of the Atlantic.

“A few people knocked the door to see if they could take a hurl and Christy or me would look out the window and say ‘tear away’. There were hurlers in Cushendall that were looking a few, and Christy left out about 30 hurling balls as well, just for the kids.

“I just remember when we were that age if someone gave you a hurl or a ball you were delighted. I was just amusing myself by announcing my so-called ‘retirement’ from hurling on Twitter. It was a bit of fun, but at least some kids got a hurl and a ball to mess around with during this lockdown, so a bit of good came out of it.”

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Hurling and camogie