Graham Barrett played his schoolboy football for Kilnamanagh before his transfer to Arsenal. Also on this team were Keith Foy (Nottingham Forsdt ) and Colm Daly (Ipswich Town)
Graham who was signed by Arsenal in 1997 as a youngster, had spells on loan with Bristol Rovers, Crewe Alexandra and Colchester United while on the Gunners books.
Graham captained the Arsenal Youth team that Won the FA Youth Cup - where he was selected as man of the amtch - in 199/2000.
During this run they defeated Nottingham Forest in the quarter final after extra time where he came face to face with Keith Foy his old Kilnamanagh teammate.
He finally left Highbury when signing for Brighton and he stayed there until joining his Coventry City during the summer of 2003.
Things did not work out for him and he transferred to Falkirk where a horrendous injury put him out of football for a year. Graham has resumed playing for Falkirk this season and scored his first goal for them against Rangers.
Graham who played for Ireland at every level from Under-15 to Under-21 grade, played a major role in helping Ireland to success in Scotland in the Under-16 European Championships in 1998.
At one stage he was the most capped Under21 Player ever in an Irish shirt
He won his first full cap against Finland in Helsinki in August 2002, marking the occasion by scoring a goal, and he has now won six caps.
Excerpt from Irish Independent
WHEN Ireland face Russia tonight, for many it will bring back haunting memories of a cold September evening in Moscow when they lost 4-2 in 2002.
But none more so than, Graham Barrett -- who, at the time, was the great white hope of Irish football. Despite scoring on his international debut as a 20-year-old a month previously, Barrett did not make the squad for the Moscow trip but he was not unduly worried. He thought time was on his side. It was not.
Just over a month ago, the man who received a three-and-a-half-year contract from Arsene Wenger, made his first appearance in senior football as a replacement for Thierry Henry and scored on his Irish senior debut retired at just age 28.
Yet it did not command a single column inch of a newspaper. Heck, most people in Irish football still are not aware that Graham Barretts playing career has come to a premature end.
Was it the prospect of repeatedly reeling out the details of his long and winding career -- the pain and misfortune that he suffered or the delirious highs which make those lows evermore regretful -- that led him to shun a high-profile exit?
"I had good moments in my career but I did not see anything worth glorifying," he explains in typically modest fashion.
Barrett was not just a face in the crowd amongst the heavyweights when, at 17 years of age, Wenger began to edge him into the first-team picture.
Already, he had won an U-16 European Championship under Brian Kerr, and starred in a Gunners Youth Cup team that featured the likes of Ashley Cole, Jermaine Pennant and Steve Sidwell. He later captained that team to an FA Youth Cup trophy in 2000 -- receiving the man-of-the-match award in one of the finals two legs.
But by then, he had already been handed a senior debut, just after his 18th birthday.
"I came on for Henry against Leicester for about 10 minutes," he recalls.
"I remember being clear through on goal and the linesman putting his flag up, but it was on Sky and my mother told me later on that the replay showed I was not offside!"
With the Gunners rise to prominence and plethora of prodigious attacking options, however, Wenger encouraged Barrett to drop a division on loan and assured him a good spell would see him challenging Dennis Bergkamp and Henry for a starting berth.
Little did the Dubliner know, though, that at 20 years of age and with only three appearances in the famous red and white shirt, he had already reached the pinnacle of his club career.
"I hadd worked hard as a young player, I always set out to do extra work and did everything I could to make myself the best player," he says.
"Perhaps I was too intense. I never got carried away with hype, I was just delighted to be a part of it and thought that, having progressed so quickly, it was all going to be like that, but it did not pan out that way."
His loan spell at Bristol Rovers was supposed to propel him into the first-team picture in North London, but he was diagnosed with glandular fever having played just 20 minutes under Ian Holloway. He did not play for six months and lost a stone. It was the beginning of the end for the striker-cum-winger, and everywhere he went thereafter, the injuries followed.
Despite making an impact on the international scene in the interim period, scoring minutes into his Ireland debut under Kerr in a friendly against Finland in 2002, his career stopped and started and spiralled into a steady decline.
The killer blow came while he was on loan from Coventry at Livingstone.
"I knew straightaway it was bad," he winces as he recalls the knee injury that put him out of action for almost two years. "I had never felt pain like that. I jumped up to trap the ball and felt a crack, like a hammer to the knee."
Barrett had three operations, but was later informed that his injury had been misdiagnosed and the scalpel came out for a final time -- but by the time that ordeal was over, he was a shadow of the footballer that had earned six Ireland caps, scoring twice.
"Falkirk took me on and they did everything they could but it got a point where (manager) John Hughes sat me down and said "I do not think you will ever get back to where you were, you have lost a yard, you cannot twist and turn, you are limping when you are jogging". I did not want to hear that as I had worked so hard."
Before long, though, Barrett finally had to admit defeat. Another cruel twist of fate meant it came just before he could play any part in a pulsating title-race for Shamrock Rovers.
"Michael (O Neill) offered me a final chance at Shamrock Rovers and I had done OK, but I was getting more and more pain in my knee.
"It came to a stage where Michael just said, you need to be careful and think about a few years time, how you will be when you are walking around the garden with the kids, so that was when I knew."
He finally cut the chord, although he is still regularly appears in the Hoops dressing-room and remains eligible for a medal if they do win the Airtricity League this year.
What a fitting end that would be to such a roller-coaster career.