Mark Farren will be remembered by the Glenavon football family for more than his on-field exploits - with manager Gary Hamilton describing the former striker as “a special person”.
The 33-year-old lost his brave battle with cancer during the early hours of Wednesday morning after trying to beat the disease for a third time.
The former Derry City and Glenavon footballer was diagnosed with a grade four brain tumour earlier this year.
After exhausting medical options at home, Mark and his wife Terri-Louise travelled to Mexico where he received treatment not available in Ireland and Europe.
It was the third time in six years that Mark had received a brain tumour diagnosis.
Gary, who brought Mark to Glenavon in 2013, described the news as “devastating”.
“We have lost a very special person,” said Gary. “He was an incredible man. Most of all, he was humble and despite being perhaps one of the greatest finishers in our game, he was always trying to improve and get better.
“Terri-Louise and Mark are a special couple. They had a remarkable bond and she has been at his side through this very difficult time. It’s so sad that he was unable to return to Mexico for more treatment.”
Mark joined Glenavon in the 2013-14 season and scored 15 goals in just ten games.
“I have often said if we had Mark Farren playing in the team now we would be challenging for the title,” added Gary.
“He was a brilliant finisher. One of the best. He rarely missed the target when he had a shot on goal.
“I believe he could have become the first player at Glenavon to score 30 plus goals since the like of Stephen McBride or Glenn Ferguson.
“He had a great career at Derry City, broke Liam Coyle’s scoring record and even though he was a top player, he was always working to improve his game. I recall him telling me when he maybe missed a chance, and that was rare, he could not sleep all night wondering why he didn’t score and how he do something different the next time.
“We have our Irish Cup tie on Saturday and we will all be recalling the last time Mark was involved in a Glenavon game, it was the Irish Cup final in 2014. He led the team out onto the pitch and was such a huge motivating factor for our squad. He would have given anything to have been playing that day and I know his presence played a major part in our success.”
His time with Glenavon may have been short, but during that time his infectious personality won him many admirers. While he was going through treatment he was humbled by the efforts by Glenavon and the fans.
“Mark felt Glenavon Football Club was a very special place. The fans, players and board rallied behind him in his battle so we are all saddened at his passing.”