Growing up the son of a hurling legend in Antrim's famous glens, Shane McNaughton is no stranger to pressure on the big stage.
An integral cog in Cushendall Ruairí Ógs march to the 2016 All-Ireland Senior Club Hurling Championship final at Croke Park, the talented stick swinger has also represented his county at senior level.
The eldest son of the eminent Terrence 'Sambo' McNaughton, the 31 year-old has made his mark on GAA pitches up and down the land, but having taken the decision to move to New York within days of that HQ appearance nearly three years ago, McNaughton is now making his mark in a very different arena this month.
Inside Danny's Box, a rib-tickling play penned by Irish playwright Derek Murphy, opened in Broadway's Cell Theatre last week, with the former hurler playing a starring role, having swapped sliothár for script-reading.
Speaking to The42 last year, McNaughton highlighted the struggles he had trying to balance the responsibilities of an inter-county career and his thespian ambitions whilst still in Ireland.
It sounds a bit f*cking pretentious and I don’t mean it to sound like that. I just had enough of it, of being told where to be at this time. Once I made the decision, it kind of was an all or nothing with acting, either go to school here (in New York) and do it or I don’t. It was very freeing.
And he hasn't looked back since.
The hair might be a little long now for his trusty green hurling helmet, but there's no doubt that McNaughton was shaped by the GAA background he was born into, and alludes to the Ruairí Ógs changing room as the place where he learned the most about people in a recent article with Brendan Crossan of The Irish News.
I was taught at 12 years of age in a Cushendall changing room how to be a man. If I can offer anything going forward, it’s because of those experiences growing up playing hurling and being surrounded by strong characters with passion. I am forever grateful to those people 🇮🇪 pic.twitter.com/lWKu72Fg1m
— Shane McNaughton (@Shanemcn15) January 18, 2019
Inside Danny's Box runs at The Cell until January 27th and here's hoping we see the glensman treading bigger and bigger boards as his acting journey continues.