As hre prepares to make his final Brandywell appearance for Derry City, we cast an eye over the career of Mark Farren
Not many players can boast that they have broken their club’s all time goal scoring record before their 31st birthday, but Mark Farren leaves Derry City in the knowledge that it will be his name that will be mentioned on websites an d in trivia questions as the all time top scorer for the Candystripes.
Farren spent time at Tranmere, Huddersfield and Finn Harps before moving to Monaghan United. It was at the now defunct Monaghan that Farren made the breakthrough in League of Ireland football and moved to City for the 2004 season. However it was the critical end of the season where Farren made the break through as City were locked
in a relegation dog fight to stay in the Premier Division.
City ended up ina relegation playoff with Limerick City, a tough side from the first division. The first leg finished 0-0 at the Pike Rovers ground in Limerick, with it all coming down to a do or die game in the Brandywell. Up popped Farren with a hat trick in the game to crush Limerick hopes and send City on to face near neighbours Finn Harps. Another nervy 0-0 first League affair meant a packed Brandywell for the second leg. The headlines may have belonged to
Liam Coyle, who marked his swansong with the winning goal deep into injury time, but it was Farren who had got City up and running with a cracking finish in the first half, before McHugh’s late equaliser.
Dykes departed early the next season and was replaced by Stephen Kenny, who installed Farren as his number one
striker. Under Kenny’s management City enjoyed a renaissance and Farren was at the peak of his power. In both the 2005 and 2006 season, he scored 18 League goals and was named the PFAI Player of the Year in 2005. His goals in 2006 meant that Kevin McHugh, a big summer signing, was reduced to cameo role as Farren’s goals kept City in the title
hunt. City missed out the League title in both seasons, but did enjoy League Cup success and Farren scored in the final as City lifted the 2006 FAI Cup.
Like the rest of the team, Farren struggled under Fenlon and Robertson and only scored 4 League goals in the 2007 season, but was back on the form the following season when he finished top scorer with 16 goals as City ended up in third spot. Farren again bagged double figures in the 2009 season, netting 10 League goals as City also lost out in the FAI Cup final.
The 2010 season saw Derry in the First Division following the expulsion following the contractual irregularities. The 2010 season was an emotional one for the striker, as news of his brain tumour was rumoured and then became public knowledge . Despite this, the striker still scored 20 goals in the season and roared to the First Division title. Ho
wever the highlight of the season was the final night, as Farren scored the goal to defeat Monaghan United and lifted the trophy in what was widely believed to be his last game.
Following his operation and recovery, Mark was given the all clear to start training with the team and returned in September 2011, against Sligo Rovers. The roar which greeted his return was nearly as loud as the one which had cheered his goal in Monaghan, as City were locked in the battle for the Premier Division title.
Mark has seen his 2012 season blighted by injured as has been restricted by the form of McDaid and Patterson, as well as his own injury troubles. However the goals kept coming, and a quick fire hat trick against Mervue United in the FAI Cup saw him break Liam Coyle’s record. Once again, the quiet man from Greencastle ensured that there wasn’t a dry eye in the house as his record breaking goal was roared home by the Brandywell faithful.
Of course, the lure of the FAI Cup Final awaits, but this marks the end of an era with the final home appearance for the man with 18 on his back and 113 goals to his name. Can he add another one this evening?