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Munster Nutritionist Clare Farrell Will Be Chasing GAA Glory In Croke Park This Weekend

Munster Nutritionist Clare Farrell Will Be Chasing GAA Glory In Croke Park This Weekend
By Rory Cassidy
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Clare Farrell will have a busier weekend than most. On Saturday she be part of history playing with Longford Slashers as they become the first club from the county to ever play in a club All-Ireland final. On Sunday, win or lose, she will be closely following Munster's opening Heineken Champions Cup encounter against Toulouse in Thomond Park in her capacity as lead performance nutritionist with the province.

Her week has been spent travelling up and down from Limerick to Longford preparing for the biggest game of her sporting career, while during the day she has been trying to prepare a professional rugby squad for a massive European encounter.

Farrell and the Slashers have come a long way since the club was reactivated in 2013. In 2017 they won the county junior title and have now won four consecutive senior county titles under manager Conor Clarke. The Longford outfit had a four point victory over Mayo's Charlestown in the semi-final last month, a result that Farrell believes was the culmination of years of hard work.

"Getting over that semi was pretty special," Farrell tells Balls.ie.

"We've had a core group of players that have come through the last ten years together.

"We are a tight unit which makes it even more special.

"As a group we've been through ups and downs together so to get to that final whistle knowing that we were in the final was pretty incredible."

27 November 2022; Grace Shannon of Longford Slashers celebratres with Longford Slashers manager Conor Clarke after the CurrentAccount.ie LGFA All-Ireland Intermediate Club Championship Semi-Final match between Longford Slashers and Charlestown, Mayo, at Michael Fay Park in Farneyhoogan, Longford. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Farrell heads over two hours back to Longford up to three times a week for training and received high praise recently from her manager for the commitment she shows. The wing-back could find herself anywhere in Europe or even South Africa on a given weekend for work with Munster so is grateful to have the support of her club.


"The expectation isn't there for me to be back all the time for training and I'm lucky that the girls are sound, and they understand that," she says.

"I just make sure I get my own work done if I'm not back.

"I'm very lucky to have such a supportive group around me who understand my situation and don't expect me to be in ten places at the one time."


Farrell has been playing with the club since it got back up and running along with five or six of her teammates. Prior to the ladies team returning Farrell spent her younger years playing with boys until finally the opportunity to play with her own peers arose.

"It was gas because there was all this talk of ‘oh Slashers are going to have this club’ and I was waiting on this club.

"I was actually in two minds as to whether I was going to join another club at the time," she admits.


"I stuck it out, I was like ‘okay I'll trust that a club is going to get started off’ and it did, and I've been there since.

"It’s been a great and eventful journey."

No day is 'boring'

During those years Farrell studied a general human nutrition degree in UCD before making the move to Loughborough University in England to do a Masters in sport and exercise nutrition.


"I decided to go down that specialised route because of my own interest and also to help me as a player.


"Living through sport you end up having a lot of contacts through your own sport, siblings, or people around the county and all of a sudden more opportunities began to open up.

"I saw that it (sports nutrition) was probably an area that there was a bit of a gap in within and decided to go down that route.


"I haven't really looked back."

During her days playing with the Longford county team she used to assist her teammates with nutrition but has now taken a step back when it comes to offering advice within her club due to her busy work commitments.

"I'm more at that stage where I'm in work mode a lot in my head and now that I'm traveling with Munster, I don't have much time myself for game prep for my own games.

"I could be flying in at midnight on a Saturday night and traveling back to Longford for 2am and then playing a game at 11am on a Sunday morning.

"I need to respect my own boundaries and try to switch off and get into my own zone as well although if any of the girls want help, ask for help or want to chat, I'm always there."

Farrell has been working with Munster since April 2021 and says that no day is "boring."

"I look after what type of food comes in, the quantities of food that come in and I try to tailor the days to support the players.

"Higher intensity days means more fuel and more carbohydrates while on recovery days I'll be focusing more on anti-inflammatory recovery nutrients," she explains.

"I also do a lot of one-to-one work with the players because in rugby the players all have very different requirements and needs.

"We do a lot of one-to-one individual work as well as group based scenarios across the High Performance Centre.

"With the players and their nutrition a strong relationship is really important to help build trust and that does take time but in order to actually help a player the best you can you really have to have that good bond there so that they can open up and they can trust you."

Farrell will miss this weekend's game against Toulouse due to the All-Ireland club Intermediate final against Tipperary's Mullinahone but will be adequately replaced.

"Hopefully I’ll be celebrating in a pub somewhere and I’ll be able to turn on the Munster game and support the lads there.

"They'll have to take out their blue for one day only on Saturday and I'll take out my red for Sunday.

"We have a few Tipp lads in here so they're struggling to get over to the blue side for Saturday but we'll get there," she laughs.

As for what it would mean for Longford Slashers to climb the steps of the Hogan Stand on Saturday at around 4:30pm...

"To do it for our club, our county and ourselves, it would just mean the world to so many people not only the team.

"It'll be a great occasion, we're going to dig deep, give it our all and hope that we come out the winning side at the end of the day."

Clare Farrell will be hoping that by Sunday evening she can celebrate success on the double and make it a weekend she will never forget.

SEE ALSO: 13 Years Later, David Moran And Kerin O'Rahilly's Are Back In A Munster Final

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