After failing to make the cut in Ireland, Shane Monahan was forced to contemplate life outside rugby.
But having been given a blank canvas in England he is determined to express himself on the biggest stage.
The powerful wing grew up dreaming of playing professional rugby and came through the Leinster ranks playing alongside some of Ireland’s biggest stars.
But being part of such a galactic outfit meant opportunities were limited and the Drogheda Town-product was released by his home province.
He endured an ultimately unsuccessful year at Connacht before being shown the door once again and was quizzed about his plans outside the game he loved.
That’s when Rotherham came calling and Monahan hasn’t looked back.
He said: “I started playing rugby at six or seven-years old. My Dad was captain of the local rugby team, Drogheda town, and brought myself and brother along.
“They’ve since amalgamated to become Boyne RFC and the likes of Shane Horgan and Niall Ronan have both come from the club.
“I came through the Leinster and Ireland age-groups and spent three years in the province’s academy with guys like Ian Keatley, Sean O’Brien, Felix Jones, Ian Madigan, Rhys Ruddock, Jamie Hagan, Andrew Browne and loads of others.
“I was very lucky to play with those lads. But due to a mixture of injuries and being behind the best back-line in the world opportunities were very slim.
“ I spent a year at Connacht which wasn’t much better and it was make or break for me in Ireland.
“When I was let go people were asking ‘what are you going to do now, you’re retiring?’.
“But I had the opportunity to join Rotherham. Thank God I had a very good season in a great team there and got a contract at Gloucester as a result.”
Monahan made 20 appearances in his first season with the Cherry and Whites, touching down seven times.
He was rewarded with a long-term contract and was determined to build upon the foundations he put in place but dislocated his shoulder in the pre-season friendly against Toulon.
It was yet another set-back for the unshakeable wing but he fought his way back into contention and last week’s 20-7 defeat proved somewhat of a seminal moment for the 26-year-old.
Monahan thought he would never reach the heights of Heineken Cup rugby but here he was - the native Dubliner lining-up on the wing against Leinster’s greatest rivals and his former Ireland under-20s teammate Keith Earls.
He certainly rose to the occasion and ran riot in a bruising performance. Now he is determined to cement his place in the Gloucester side and stay in the sights of those across the Irish Sea.
He said: “Growing up in Ireland, you don’t see a lot of the English clubs but there are a few teams you always know about and Gloucester is one of them.
“When my agent said they were interested I couldn’t believe it. It’s a huge honour and privilege and having worked so hard to get here it’s fantastic.
“It was a foot in the door and I was very happy with how last season went. It was not the best pre-season, dislocating my shoulder in the first gam but thankfully I’m back out on the park.
“I was worried I would miss out on the Heineken Cup but it couldn’t have worked out better to get my first taste of it against Munster, in such a big game.
“It was huge for me, the biggest game I’ve been involved in. To achieve goals like that now is huge after such a long, tough road is amazing.
“When I was a kid my ultimate goal was to play for my country and pull on that emerald green jersey.
“You have to take it one step at a time but if I can get a starting spot in this exceptional squad maybe I will get attention at home.
“It’s always in the back of my mind that I’m not in their sights and they have said they prefer players to be based in Ireland. But if you’re playing well enough that they can’t ignore you.
“I’m still a bit rusty and will have to get back and then play at my best to get a look in - that’s what I aim to do.”
While there is nothing delicate about the 6ft 2ins, 16 stone flyer on the pitch but Monahan certainly has an artistic touch.
The former product design student has always possessed a passion for painting and he has already taken to a palette and brush to encapsulate his teammates.
For Monahan it is simply an escape from the pressures of modern day sport but if it can raise money for charity or lead to opportunities in the future all the better.
He said: “I’ve always had an interest and passion for drawing and painting. Whenever I’m at home watching TV I will get out the pad and draw.
“I hadn’t done much since studying product design in Dublin but the year before last I typically left ‘Secret Santa to the last minute, I had Mike Tindall so I just painted him.
“It had a good response from the lads so thought I would get back into it. I’ve started doing paintings and have had a massive response from the fans.
“A Gloucester player painting his teammates gives me a unique selling point. It’s something I enjoy and lets me escape from the game and relax, and if it’s something I can have a bit of a career from then great.
“The first one I did of Billy Twelvetrees went for £500 in the Wooden Sppon event at Kingsholm. It’s fantastic to be able to help out such fantastic charities.
“I’m so lucky to do what I love on and off the pitch, playing rugby and painting as an artist.
“It’s so important for lads to plan for after rugby and have something as a back-up plan because this career doesn’t last forever.
“I try to get around the galleries in Cheltenham, who knows maybe they will be exhibiting some of my work one day. But I have to say I’m the number two artist because Henry Trinder counts himself as the best on and off the field.”
Monahan’s immediate focus however will be on Sunday’s Heineken Cup clash in Perpignan – a city with a close affinity to Salvador Dali.
And while Monahan counts Marvel comic book illustrations and Pop Artists such as Roy Litchenstein among his inspirations, Gloucester will be hoping he delivers plenty of Wham, Bang and Pow at Stade Aime Giral.