‘A DAY TO mourn and remember’ was how Fr Michael Canny summed the day up in his Homily at the Funeral Mass of the late Mark Farren this morning.
The former Derry City striker was just 33 when he passed away this week after a long battle with a brain tumor.
Hundreds of mourners attended his funeral at St Mary’s Church, Ballybrack.
Derry City players and manager Kenny Shiels formed a guard of honour alongside members of Greencastle FC, the boyhood club of Farren, who became Derry City’s record goalscorer in 2012.
The cortege snaked its way to the small, rural church and the spits of rain atop the somberly-hoisted umbrellas were punctuated only by a round of applause as his remains were carried inside.
Floral tributes from Derry City and Glenavon – Farren’s last club – were carried to the Church and his coffin was draped in Glenavon’s blue jersey and the famous red and white Candystripes in which Farren made his name.
In 209 games for Derry, Farren scored 113 times.
“Mark’s short but highly influential life has left an indelible mark on the life of many people, particularly those involved with football and Derry City FC in particular,” Fr Canny said.
“Many say that Mark was central to the success of Derry at that time. Mark had something deep inside him, a desire, a dream, a vision and he went for it.
“He was very committed to his training, clinical at scoring goals in training, as well as being an important player in the dressing room.
“Despite his on the pitch success he was very modest and unassuming. He was never a person to talk up or boast about his achievements. He let his feet and head do the talking.”
Former Derry City manager Stephen Kenny, Glenavon manager Gary Hamilton and the Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness were among the mourners at the funeral.
Derry City are to retire the number 18 shirt Farren wore during his time at the club and a book of condolences has been opened at Brandywell Stadium.
“In the eight years since his first diagnosis Mark has fought a good fight,” Fr Canny said.
“Today is a day to mourn and remember,” said Fr Canny.
“Terri (Farren’s wife), for you as his wife, as well as his parents Kathleen and Michael, brother and sisters and family circle it is a time to mourn the loss of someone very special in your lives.
“For those of us who could only but admire Mark and his goal scoring skills, it is also a time to mourn his passing from this world – but also a time of very special memories.”
The President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins, led the tributes this week, but it was perhaps the SDLP leader and Foyle MLA Colum Eastwood who put it best when he described Farren as: “One of the most loved Donegal men in Derry.”Tags: