On Friday Cushendall said goodbye to PJ McNaughton, a good and faithful servant to the Ruairi Og Club.
A member of one of Ireland’s great hurling families PJ just missed out on Cushendall’s historic breakthrough in 1981. He was a member of the squad right up to the late seventies when they were knocking on the door, but had hung up his hurl before that famous day in 1981 when they lowered the colours of the great Ballycastle team who were bidding for four in a row.
Not that he turned his back on the hurling, for he was a constant around the club and as the Ruairi’s grew in strength he had the honour of seeing six of his brothers line out on the team that won the club’s second title in 1985 by beating Loughgiel in the final in Glenravel.
I covered a lot of games in Cushendall over the years and seldom did I do one that PJ wasn’t there behind the wire on the Lurig side of the ground, down near the pavilion, full of banter and craic, and not always complimentary towards the visiting team, or the home side for that matter, but always there…and always enjoying it.
Another member of the great McNaughton hurling family is gone. Not as decorated as his many of his brothers, but just as fondly remembered and as sadly missed.
To his wife Patricia and their family we offer our sincere condolences.
Rest in peace PJ.