Clara Barrett: Rising through the ranks

01 September 2023

Clara Barrett: Rising through the ranks

This week the Senior Irish Women's team announced their training squad ahead of the inaugural WXV3 competition in Dubai. One of the seven Connacht players named in that squad is Clara Barrett.

From a small village called Geesala, less than 20km outside of Belmullet, Clara has had a 2023 to remember (and it's not finished yet).

She spoke to us about how her rugby journey started.

"I started rugby when I was ten"

"There's no rugby club in Geesala now, but there use to be a team near called Erris Rugby"

"It was mostly boys, there were only two or three girls playing so that's where I started playing rugby"

"When you get to U12/U14 level they stop mixing boys and girls so I then joined the Ballina girls team and that's really where it all took off"

Clara isn't the only the Geesala player we have in the ranks of Connacht Rugby at the moment. Clara is related to our Year 1 academy player Fiachna Barrett. Known as 'Big Red' around The Sportsground, Fiachna was part of the Irish U20 squad this season to win the Grand Slam and reach the U20 World Cup Final.

"It's great to have someone around the place like Fiachna to talk about rugby and the environment were involved in" said Clara

"During the Grand Slam win and U20 World Cup there was great excitment around Geesala and the surrounding areas of the Erris region seeing Fiachna do so well with Ireland"

This Saturday the Connacht Women's team take on Ulster in the 3rd/4th place play-off of the Vodafone Interprovincial Championship down in Musgrave Park (k/o 2pm). Clara and the team are hoping to make it three wins from four in this season's Championship.

"I'm feeling really good ahead of the game"

"There's a great buzz around the squad, we put in a massive weeks work of training"

"Last weekend was a tough game against Ulster and we came out with the win but as a team we know we have a lot more in us"

"Parts of our performance were good but we need to be better"

"Saturday will be another battle, Ulster are a really physical team so we need to match that physicality and bring that extra bit of energy"

This calendar year has been one of many milestones for the Mayo star, back in January she came off the bench against Leinster in the Interpros to make her first appearance for the Connacht senior team. The following two weeks she would star in the games against Ulster and Munster scoring four tries including a Player Of The Match performance.

Later that month she was named in the Ireland Combined Provinces squad that would play Scotland and Wales.

Fast forward to July and she was named in the Irish U20 squad that travelled to Italy to take o the Italians and Scotland.

She has started every game in this season's Interpros, and most recently, has been called up to the Irish Senior squad.

"Its been a big year"

"A lot has happened since making my Connacht debut"

"I really enjoyed the Inetrpros back in Januray, as a team we wanted to finish better but for me it was a great experience"

"Being called up to the Combined Provinces was massive for me being able to train with some big name players and bring my game to a new level"

"The U20 experience was great, we didn't get the results we wanted but we all took a lot from it"

"Getting the call for the Irish Senior team was a bit of shock to be honest"

"It's a massive oppourtunity and I just want to make the most of it"

Clara told us how her call up for Ireland all came about.

"A couple of the grils texted me saying did you check your emails?"

"I hadn't recieved any emails"

"Next of all I got a text from Scott Bemand asking for my email address and then was sent the selection email"