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12th Mar 2016

“The balloons drifted away but the memories of Mark Farren never will” – moving recount of how Derry City said goodbye to a legend

Conan Doherty

“Every single one of the fans were reminiscing over their favourite memory.”

There’s only one Mark Farren.

The Brandywell honoured a legend on Friday night. It remembered a hero. It waved goodbye to a friend.

Mark Farren’s life was cut way too short after just 33 years but his legacy will last forever. As long as Derry City Football Club remains, so too will the memory and the inspiration of a brave young talent.

A tribute to former Derry City player Mark Farren 3/2/2016

The Candy Stripes’ first home game of the new Airtricity League season was marked beautifully with tributes to Mark Farren.

James McClean presented the number 18 jersey to Mark’s family and his wife Terri-Louise as the club officially retired the number in the striker’s memory before the 1-0 win over Cork City.

James McClean and Karen Pyne presenting the No 18 jersey to Michael and Kathleen Farren 11/3/2016

Balloons were let off, players showed their respect before kick off and, in the 18th minute, the Brandywell stood in unison to applaud the former League of Ireland top scorer and the spectacular life he led.

Derry News Sports Editor, Gary Ferry, spoke to SportsJOE about the moving scenes on the Lone Moor Road.

“The Farren family were on the Brandywell pitch – the same pitch that Mark lit up hundreds of times – and the crowd showed them their appreciation,” Gary said. “James McClean, a former team mate of Mark’s, handed over the number 18 shirt to Mark’s family and the jersey was officially retired.”


On a night where one of Derry City’s brightest ever stars shone once more and was saluted, it was the rising light of 19-year-old Ronan Curtis that took the baton and scored the game’s only goal.

“The Brandywell rose in honour of its greatest ever goalscorer and even the Cork fans were moved to chant, ‘there’s only one Mark Farren.’ It was special,” Ferry recalled. “And the winning goal had shades of Farren about it too. A young Derry player breaking through – like Mark did all those years ago. Speeding into the penalty area – like Farren. Firing a left-footed shot beyond the ‘keeper – just like Mark Farren.

“It was a move and a finish that Farren would’ve been proud of.”

Young Derry fans form the number 18 in memory of former Derry City striker Mark Farren prior to kick off 11/3/2016

A fitting way to mark a poignant occasion. But this won’t be the last time Mark Farren will be remembered. This was just the send-off he deserved.

“He scored 113 goals for the club, it’s safe to say that he left an enduring legacy at the Brandywell,” Gary Ferry put it perfectly. “Even on Friday night, every single one of the fans were reminiscing over their favourite Farren memory as the family released balloons into the Derry skies.

“The balloons drifted away but the memories of Farren never will. Not to any of those who shared his life or were lucky enough to follow his career with Derry City.”

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