Barrett also featured on loan from Arsenal for Bristol Rovers, Crewe Alexandra, Colchester United and Brighton & Hove Albion in the Football League. He also appeared for Coventry City and spent time at Sheffield Wednesday. Spells in Scotland for Livingstone, Falkirk and St Johnstone followed, his last spell at club football coming for Irish outfit Shamrock Rovers, with whom he won a League of Ireland championship medal. Barrett represented the Republic of Ireland at the under-18, under-21 and the senior-most levels.
Born in Dublin, Ireland, Barrett signed professional terms with Arsenal in October 1998. He made his debut for the Gunners as a late substitute for Thierry Henry in a 3–0 victory at Leicester City in December 1999 and also featured as a substitute in their 4–1 win over Sunderland the following month.
Having already won the 1998 UEFA Under-16 Championship with Ireland, Barrett then starred and captained the Arsenal youth team to an FA Youth Cup win in 2000, where he received the man of the match award in one of the final's two legs. Following his Arsenal debut and cup win, Gunners' manager Arsène Wenger encouraged Barrett to go out on loan to a lower division club, subsequently joining Bristol Rovers on loan in December 2000. However, he played just 20 minutes under Ian Holloway, and was diagnosed with glandular fever, losing a stone in weight and spending six-months on the sidelines.
During the 2001–02 season, Barrett again went out on loan, this time to Crewe Alexandra, making three appearances in his month-long loan stint. He returned to Arsenal before in December 2001 Wenger agreed to allow him to join Colchester United on loan for the remainder of the season. Barrett became a hit with the fans, scoring a brace and indeed his first professional goals during a 3–2 win against Northampton Town on Boxing Day 2001, only his third game with the U's. Barrett netted a further two goals in 20 games for Colchester, but an injury suffered during a 0–0 draw with Wycombe Wanderers curtailed his season. As a mark of respect, United fans dressed in green in their final home game of the season, a nod to Barrett's Irish roots. Colchester manager Steve Whitton attempted to get Barrett back to Layer Road for a further season, but Barrett instead opted to go to Brighton & Hove Albion on a season-long loan deal. Prior to joining Brighton and, despite his injuries, he made his full international debut for Ireland in August 2002, having made 24 appearances for the under-21s and represented Ireland at every age group since turning 15. He also scored in a pre-season friendly for Arsenal against Stevenage. With Brighton, Barrett managed to make 20 league starts, making a further ten appearances as a substitute, but again suffered a series of niggling injuries that held back his progress. At Brighton he scored once against Sheffield United.
Barrett was released from Highbury in May 2003, joining Coventry City on a three-year deal on 30 May. Barrett's injury problems continued while with the Sky Blues, where he made 32 league starts and made 23 substitute appearances in two seasons, scoring six goals. He joined Sheffield Wednesday on the loan deadline day in March 2005, where he scored once against Torquay United in six appearances. Barrett was told by manager Micky Adams that he was free to leave the club despite having one year remaining on his contract. Despite this he remained at Coventry, but, out of the first-team picture, went on loan to Scotland with Livingston. He played just six games for the club before suffering a season-ending knee injury.
Signing a two-year with Scottish side Falkirk following his release from Coventry in August 2006, with the Bairns' medical staff satisfied with his rehabilitation after his serious knee injury the previous season. Once again though, Barrett suffered further injuries, requiring an operation on his knee in October 2006. He returned to action for the 2007–08 season, going on to sign a one-year contract extension in March 2008. After three operations and later being informed that his injury had been misdiagnosed, Barrett left Falkirk after manager John Hughes sat him down and told him he would never be the player he was before suffering his injuries. He was released from the club in January 2009. He had scored eight goals in 48 league games at the Falkirk Stadium.
After going on trial with Heart of Midlothian, St Johnstone stepped in to sign Barrett after Hearts decided against handing him a deal. He was brought in to cover a spate of injuries amongst St Johnstones' forwards in February 2009. After nine appearances and one goal against Airdrieonians, Barrett was released by the club in the summer of 2009.
Barrett returned to his native Ireland with Shamrock Rovers in August 2009. In his two seasons with the club, he amassed 21 appearances and scored once, but he still struggled with persistent injuries, holding him back from progressing and making a greater number of appearances. He finally had to admit defeat in the 2010 season, playing his last game in July 2010, meaning he could not play a part in the chase for the League of Ireland title. His manager at Shamrock, Michael O'Neill, advised Barrett to assess his options, warning that he would "need to be careful and think about a few years' time." As Shamrock went on to take the League of Ireland title, Barrett was still eligible for a league winners medal.
Barrett has represented the Republic of Ireland at every level since the age of 15 and was a member of the Ireland team that won the 1998 UEFA European Under-16 Football Championship in Scotland. Between 1998 and 2000, he scored four goals in eleven under-18 games and scored five in 24 under-21 games between 2000 and 2003. Scoring on his international debut for Ireland in a 3–0 victory over Finland on 22 August 2002, Barrett would score once more in six appearances between 2002 and 2004.
Having grown up close to Tallaght, Barrett followed his father, Gary, in playing for Shamrock Rovers. Gary began his playing career with Shamrock in 1980 under Johnny Giles, where he scored a number of goals. This factor was a draw to Graham when joining the club himself in 2009.Arsenal
FA Youth Cup: 2000
League of Ireland Premier Division: 2010
Republic of Ireland
UEFA European Under-16 Football Championship: 1998
All honours referenced by: