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Former team-mates turn out for Derry star Farren

Martin O'Neill and Derry GAA star in the dugout during the match for Mark Farren. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin

REPUBLIC of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill led a host of sporting names as they helped raised vital funds for former Derry City striker Mark Farren.

O'Neill took charge of a Derry City select who faced a Northern Ireland XI on Saturday led by Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill.

The fundraising match and a benefit dinner were held for Mark Farren. The 33-year-old forward, Derry's record goalscorer with 113 goals, has been suffering from a brain tumour and is trying to raise funds to visit a clinic in Mexico for treatment.

Born in Greencastle, Co Donegal, Farren was joined Derry City in 2003 and went on to become the Candystripes' record goal-scorer in 2012. He was initially diagnosed with a benign brain tumour in December 2008 but continued to play on for Derry City until October 2009. A

fter undergoing surgery, Farren returned to Derry City in the summer of the 2011.

In his most recent operation, surgeons removed more than 80 per cent of the tumour but the 33-year-old's speech and mobility have been affected. A biopsy after the surgery indicated the tumour was highly aggressive and will require treatment in Mexico.

Former Derry team-mates Kevin McHugh, Ruaidhri Higgins and Ciaran Martyn have organised a host of fundraising activities, which have raised money for Farren's treatment fund. More than £70,000 had been raised prior to Saturday's events.

At the weekend, Farren's old team-mates at the Brandywell including Paddy McCourt, Mark McChrystal and David Forde took to the field. Derry GAA star Eoin Bradley also featured for Martin O'Neill's 11, while former Northern Ireland international Jim Magilton featured for the opposition.

Republic of Ireland internationals James McClean and Shane Duffy were also in attendance while musician Phil Coulter was another famous face in the crowd.

Farren is due to fly to Mexico today.

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