Who is Terence ‘Sambo’ McNaughton? Antrim legend set to star as Laochra Gael returns

Terence ‘Sambo’ McNaughton

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Terence 'Sambo' McNaughton is the subject of the latest episode of TG4's GAA series Laochra Gael as it returns tonight.

The hit documentary series is back for its 20th season and will feature 'Sambo' as well as other figures from the GAA such as former Dublin star Michael Darragh Macauley.

And the Antrim great takes centre stage tonight as he documents his life inside and outside of GAA in an honest interview.

Here's what you need to know about Terence 'Sambo' McNaughton:

GAA career

Terence McNaughton

McNaughton made his mark on the pitch as a hurling star. The Cushendall clubman won six Ulster titles with his native Antrim in the 80's and 90's as well as seven Ulster titles with his club.

The half-back earned an All-Star award in 1991 after starring for the Saffrons in an Ulster three-in-a-row success before pushing Kilkenny close in the All-Ireland semi-final.

He went on to manage his county, winning three Ulster titles after a spell in charge between 2006 and 2009.

Speech impediment treatment

'Sambo' opened up on his speech impediment – and the way others treated him as a result – which has defined much of his life on Laochra Gael.

The 57-year-old has described being 'ignored' by teachers and how he felt like an outsider in his school days, suffering 'horrendous' treatment from teachers and students.

He said: “School wasn’t a happy place for me. Primary school definitely was a waste of time. I had two types of teachers: The ones that wanted to batter the speech impediment out of me, and the ones that couldn’t deal with it, and ignored me.

Terence McNaughton

“School wasn’t a happy time for me. It just brings back memories, very few good ones. One of the teachers just made me sleep in the class, didn’t know how to deal with me. Other teachers just wanted to beat it out of you. That was the world we lived in.

“My kids today love school. I never had that experience. I always felt that school made me isolated. It was never inclusive for me. I was always an outsider, for different reasons, especially the speech. The speech made me an outsider, and the school made sure I stayed an outsider.

“I never went in to a shop and asked for sweets. I never asked a girl out in my life. I had no self-confidence. I had no self-esteem. I felt, basically, useless in school. I was the dumb one in the class.

“Every Monday, I had to stand outside the primary school, and wait for the special needs bus and get on that. You can imagine the slagging and banter going on. It was horrendous, the feeling of not belonging to anything. Out of the five days of the week going to school, I would have cried four days for my mother not to send me.

“Some of the things that were done… The beatings that I got… Standing in the front of the class with the teacher telling you to read, you stuttering… and the whole class laughing.”

Terence ‘Sambo’ McNaughton is featured in the opening episode of the 20th series of TG4’s iconic show, Laochra Gael. The Nemeton produced programme airs tomorrow night (Thursday) at 9.30pm. The other players featured in the new series are Michael Darragh Macauley, Sue Ramsbottom, Johnny McGurk, Joe Quaid and Kieran Fitzgerald.

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