'I've been thinking about Mark Farren and Ryan McBride': says Ireland boss Stephen Kenny
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The Dubliner, who managed Derry City over two successful spells, claims the Brandywell club's record goalscorer, Farren and former skipper, McBride have been at the forefront of his thoughts in recent days.
He's had plenty to occupy his mind since officially succeeding Mick McCarthy as Republic of Ireland boss but in a recent interview he paid tribute to two men who quite clearly have made a lasting impression on him.
Kenny managed Farren - who passed away after a brain tumour in February 2016 - for five memorable years and described the Greencastle native as an 'iconic' and 'inspirational' figure when the striker sadly lost his fight against an aggressive brain tumour, aged 33.
The former Candy Stripe manager was an influential figure in Farren's career from 2004 to 2011 and under his guidance he went on to become a true legend, scoring a record 114 goals in 209 appearances.
Kenny also had a significant part to play in launching the career of the late Ryan McBride as he handed the defender his League of Ireland debut in 2011 having plucked him from junior football. He once described McBride, who died suddenly in March 2017 as 'the bravest player I've seen on a football pitch'.
And in recent days Kenny's thoughts once again turned towards the late duo as he jogged along the streets of Blackrock, near his Co. Louth home.
“I went for a run the other morning but there’s nobody on the roads at the moment so it’s very quiet," he explained. “I was thinking about Mark Farren and Ryan McBride, who are dead now.
“I’ve got a lot of texts from ex-players and so forth who are delighted (at his appointment) and I know I would have got messages from those two."
Kenny made a poignant return to the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium dugout last May to manage the Derry City team in the annual Ryan McBride Soccer Sixes tournament.
And he revealed he has now become a patron of the Ryan McBride Foundation - a ringing endorsement for the charitable organisation.
“There’s a foundation now, the Ryan McBride Foundation, in relation to coaching in the community and in disadvantaged areas. And the McBride family has asked me to be a patron of the foundation and I’m delighted to do that.”
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