Mark Farren was born 1 May 1982 in Greencastle, County Donegal, Ireland. He is an Irish footballer who played in the League of Ireland with Derry City, Finn Harps and Monaghan United and more recently he played with Glenavon in the Irish League.
Mark began his football career with a largely unsuccessful period, throughout which he was dogged by injury, in the youth setup at Tranmere Rovers. Following this and a spell at Huddersfield Town, he returned to his home county to play for Finn Harps. After only one substitute League appearance in the 2000–01 League of Ireland season and a lack of first-team opportunities saw Farren move south to fellow League of Ireland First Division side Monaghan United.
He became a regular in the Monaghan team and quickly gained a reputation as a promising, pacy striker with lots of potential. He earned a move to Derry City in 2003 with a free transfer and although he began the 2004 season on the bench, Farren made his breakthrough under Gavin Dykes. His importance to the club was seen when he burst onto the scene with a crucial hat-trick against Limerick and another goal against his former club, Finn Harps, in the promotion/relegation play-offs.
Farren stayed clear of injury in the 2005 season to produce some magnificent displays. He finished the season as second top scorer with 18 league goals in 31 appearances and 22 goals in all competitions. It was this excellent form that saw him named PFAI Player of the Year.
With the signing of Kevin McHugh and the establishment of Gary Beckett as a top forward in League of Ireland football, Farren’s starting place was placed under threat for the 2006 season. However, he returned to the form he showed in 2005 and did manage to hold down a regular spot in the team, with an especially strong finish to the season, which helped Derry win the FAI Cup.
His efforts also helped keep Derry in the league title race up until the very last day of the season, only to see his club lose the title to Dublin rivals, Shelbourne, on goal difference. In all, Farren finished the 2006 season with 18 goals to his name.
In 2010 Farren was instrumental in Derry gaining promotion from the First Division scoring 20 goals in the season. Farren who scored in the 1–0 victory in the last game over Monagahan United to give Derry the championship but however was forced to put his playing career on hold due to a brain tumour.
Twenty goals (in the season) and he’s had to deal with so much going through his mind about his future health, never mind his footballing career. He’s been unbelievably courageous, I don’t think people realise how brave he’s been, although certainly all the players do.
– Then Derry City manager Stephen Kenny
Mark Farren retired from football after Derry gained promotion to the Premier League due to the benign tumour diagnosed in his brain. Although it was suggested that he could return to the game in the near future as either again a player or in a coaching role.
In May 2011 it was announced that Mark Farren had come out of retirement and returned to training with Derry City following an astonishing recovery and would play again for the team once he regains full match fitness.
He was named in the squad travelling to Sligo to play in a crucial league match at the start of September 2011.
Commenting on Farren attempting to surpass Liam Coyles goal tally, Kenny stated:
It’s a challenge for him once he’s back playing. Liam is recognised as one of the all-time greats at Derry City and while Mark played with him for a short spell, I think they have great respect for each other and I’ve no doubt that Liam will be willing Mark to score the six goals he needs to beat the record of 112.
In August 2012 it was announced that he would be moving to Glenavon in January 2013 after signing a pre-contract agreement.
In September 2012 Farren overtook Liam Coyle as Derry’s top scorer with 113 goals.
Farren made his IFA Premiership debut for Glenavon on 5 January 2013 and scored his first goal at Dungannon Swifts. He went on to play 15 games for Glenavon scoring 10 goals.