Football put into perspective as fundraising continues for cancer-stricken former Derry striker Mark Farren
The trials and tribulations of League of Ireland football have been put in perspective by the plight of former Derry City striker Mark Farren.
Fans who attend tonight’s Brandywell meeting of the Candystripes and Galway United will be urged to dig into their pockets and contribute towards the ongoing fundraising efforts that will allow the 33-year-old to undergo urgent medical treatment with a view to saving his life.
Farren looks set to travel to an elite cancer treatment centre in Mexico as opposed to the original plan of Germany, with his well-being foremost in the thoughts of everyone in the Derry camp, particularly his former team-mate and current City manager Peter Hutton.
“It’s great to see the response that we’ve had in this tragic circumstance,” said Hutton. “I think it shows the esteem that Mark is held in, not just by in football but the community at large.
“Mark was a quiet lad and very unassuming as a young player. You would not have known that he was in the dressing room half the time. But when he went on to the pitch he spoke volumes,” Hutton continued, reflecting on the strengths of the Candystripes all-time top scorer.
“He knew where the net was. There are great memories of him scoring against St Pat’s in the 2006 FAI Cup final and the goal at Monaghan that got Derry promoted. So he scored some very important goals for the club and he certainly added one or two chapters to Derry City’s history.”
Last night, a Derry XI comprised of former team-mates met Farren’s most recent club, Glenavon, in a benefit game.
Beforehand, his wife Terri-Louise stressed just how grateful the couple are for all the support they’ve received with the initial ballpark target of €30,000 in the rear view mirror as the money keeps rolling in.
“To try and thank everybody individually would be virtually impossible,” she said. “This is something that we thought we’d have to remortgage our house to be able to get to.
“We just appreciate absolutely everything. To say that we can go in three weeks time and not to be able to worry about the cost of things or how we are going to finance it, it’s just the biggest emotional rollercoaster we’ve ever been through.”
Farren’s situation has made everything else going on around the Airtricity League pale into insignificance.
Meanwhile,, the crisis at Bray Wanderers took another curious turn yesterday when they announced that caretaker boss Maciej Tarnogrodzki had decided to step down following Monday’s 8-1 thrashing in Dundalk.
“Maciej has asked for time out to reflect – and of course he has earned that. We hope to have him back in action with the club in the near future,” said the Wanderers statement which left players unsure who will be in charge for their game in Drogheda.
Trevor Croly, Mick Cooke and Pat Scully are on the radar but takeover talks have complicated the position.
On the pitch, the Inchicore showdown between St Patrick’s Athletic and Shamrock Rovers is the game of the night, with Hoops midfielder Keith Fahey sure to be in the spotlight upon his first return to his old stomping ground since his winter switch.