As Mark Farren posed with the teams before kick off at Thursday night’s game, one supporter shouted “There’s only one Mark Farren.”
It was a moment that summed up the evening, two clubs and supporters assembled all for one man who, through his immune character and fight, has caught the hearts of a football community.
Over £7,000 was raised on the night - £3,200 on the gate, £500 from the Glenavon board and the rest from a series of fund raisers during the evening.
Members of the Ports family offered support - with current player Ken Oman on show for a Derry City side managed by former Shamrock Park midfielder Peter Hutton. Two former Ports - Gary Hamilton and Paul Millar - were manager and assistant respectively of the Glenavon panel.
Players with connections to Portadown were also involved in the select squads - Neil McCafferty, Kevin Braniff, Gareth McKeown, Kyle Neill, Mark Patton, Kris Lindsay and David Scullion.
If you would like to donate to the Mark Farren fund, please go to www.markfarren.com
As he led the teams out, Farren was applauded with every step by a crowd there to help him make another stride towards treatment in Mexico.
Farren’s Derry team that held PSG to a 0-0 draw in the 06/07 UEFA Cup featured a plethora of quality players but they started slowly at Mourneview Park. Glenavon Player of the Season Kevin Braniff could have opened the scoring but shot wide before Conor Dillon saw a header held by Patrick Jennings.
Dillon started in central midfield, perhaps boss Gary Hamilton keeping an eye on next season without Shane McCabe.
Andy McGrory managed to get the better of Jennings on 32 minutes as he blasted home a confident finish when Ciaran Caldwell sent him bursting clear. That penalty against Portadown has certainly done his confidence no harm, as he showed again soon after when he attempted a long range volley.
Fabio O’Brien netted Glenavon’s second on 44 minutes when he converted Gary Hamilton’s corner.
The biggest cheer of the night then went to Derry’s first goal from the spot. Why? Well it could scarcely have come from a more popular scorer. It was former Glenavon favourite Eddie McCallion who stroked it home, after the support demanded he be elevated to the position of penalty taker.
Fabio made it 3-1 with a well taken drive after the break but Derry weren’t done there.
Cliftonville forward David McDaid netted Derry’s second shortly afterwards, blasting over new signing Jonny Tuffey, who had come on at the break.
On a Cafu-like run, McCallion had a major hand in Derry’s equaliser. His shot came back off the post but there to lend a helping hand was Glenavon boss Gary Hamilton who couldn’t avoid nodding the ball into his own net.
There was still time an, erm, veteran Paul Millar to come on. Perhaps an audition for a place in next year’s squad? His audaciously attempted lob forced a top drawer save from Jennings and could well put him in Hamilton’s thoughts.
With time ticking away, Glenavon ran away with it. A neat header from Andy McGrory and drives from Kevin Braniff and Andy McGrory made it 6-3 on a night that was all about one man.
Remember, if you would like to donate to the Mark Farren fund, please go to www.markfarren.com.
GLENAVON: McGrath, McKeown, Kelly, Elebert, Neill, McGrory, Caldwell, Dillon, Patton, Braniff, O’Brien.
Subs: Marshall, Kilmartin, Rainey, Tuffey, Lindsay, Hamilton.
DERRY CITY: Jennings, McCallion, Holmes, Oman, Gray, Higgins, Martyn, Scullion, McDaid, Harkin, Deery.
Subs: Beckett, Parkhouse, McHugh, McCafferty.