Just four years ago Sadhbh McGrath was playing camogie and Gaelic football for Burt as a 14-year-old.
Fast forward to today and the Scoil Mhuire student, who lives in Buncrana, has just been called into the Ireland senior rugby team for the Six Nations tournament, which gets underway on March 25 with a match against Wales.
Speaking to the Inishowen Independent, McGrath explained how her interest in rugby came about.
“I was playing camogie and Gaelic football in Burt my whole life really but because I had nothing to do in the winter, I decided that I would give rugby a try.
“I went in and joined City of Derry and from there, I developed a real love of the game.
“I’m now playing with a club from Belfast called Cooke RFC in the All Ireland League and I’m loving it.”
Having played for Ireland at underage level, McGrath then began to believe that she could one day play for the senior team, although she admits that it still came as a big shock when she got the email to say she had been selected for the Six Nations squad.
“When I got the email I was buzzing and shocked at the same time. There are girls in that squad that I have looked up to from afar, and now I’m playing in the same team as them.”
“It’s everything you dream of and I’m just looking forward to the start of the tournament now.”
Training in Belfast with the club and now having to head to Dublin for training camps with the Irish squad is not easy at the best of times but when you add in the fact that McGrath is in her Leaving Cert year at Scoil Mhuire, there is the danger that it could all become too much.
She’s having none of that however and she insists that the school have been more than good to her when it comes to mixing training with studies.
“First and foremost it’s up to me to make sure I make time for my studies. I have oral exams coming up in the next month and I know I have to do my bit to get through them.
“I have to say, the school have been very good with me. The teachers will record stuff for me and give me that wee bit of extra time, as they know I also have the training, so it’s all good.”
For any 18-year-old, being called into a senior international team can be a wee bit daunting but Sadhbh McGrath seems more than able to take things in her stride and she’s now looking ahead to doing all she can in the first game against Wales on the 25th of March.
“It’s about putting the head down now, working hard and making sure that I know all my detail and what the coaches are looking for from me.”
The Ireland prop didn’t have too far to look when seeking inspiration as a player from Donegal, with Nora Stapleton coming from just up the road in Fahan.
“Manus O’Donnell was my manager in Burt and he had told me so much about Nora and what she was able to achieve with Ireland.
“It’s great to know that somebody who literally lived just up the road from me was able to go from Donegal and do so well with the Ireland team.”