Writing this I can’t pretend to have known Mark Farren personally. I wish I could. However when I heard the sad news this morning of his passing I really felt like I’d lost a dear friend. Such was the effect he had on me and my family.
Being the mother of three sons, all avid footballers in their childhood and now in adulthood, playing for local and regional teams, there were always aspirations to be like ‘Mark Farren’. I don’t ever recall the boys having dreams of being PelĂ©, Maradona, Beckham or Brady. But Mark’s name was an ever recurring one in our home.
Being a Quigleys Point gal I was brought up a Derry City FC fan. Dad was always a fan and continually brought us to the Brandwell as children and teens. My teenage crush on Stuart Gauld may have helped develop my following of the Candystripes to the present day. (Sorry Golly G, but there’s no turning now!) Mark 1
Farren, the Derry City all-time leading goal scorer, and Greencastle native, was diagnosed in recent years with a grade four brain tumour. From the onset he fought with every breath he had. For the past number of years he has defeated odds and even returned to the pitch for a spell. Just last summer he travelled to Mexico where he underwent treatment for the said tumor.
Farren,33, will always be remembered for his time with the Candystripes but he also played with Finn Harps, Monaghan Utd and Glenavon. In 2005, Mark Farren was named League of Ireland player of the year.
Mark fought his cancer battle with dignity and determination. He never faltered.Mark 2
I spoke with my brother Ciaran in Dublin just a short while ago. A dedicated Derry City fan, he travels the country weekly during the footballing season supporting his beloved red and white army. He told me: “Feels like someone I knew personally has died. Genuine great player who will be forever remembered by fans of all League of Ireland clubs not just Derry City. Think we all knew it was coming but still a huge shock. A true inspirational man has gone from our midst.”
Many will agree with these sentiments.
So as Inishowen, Derry, and the footballing world in Ireland say their goodbyes to Mark, I’m proud to say he was, and will remain, a household name in my home. I’m proud to have raised boys who looked up to someone like Mark Farren.
The football pitch in the sky has just welcomed a true football shining star. Shine brightly Mark.
Thoughts and prayers are with his wife, family and footballing friends.