TRADITION is a word often thrown around but never has it been more valid than when describing Mark Farr and his family’s association with Dohenys GAA.
The newly elected club chairman, his family’s involvement stretches back two generations to when his father Mick was chairman during the mid-1970s and grandfather Willie was a dedicated committee member before that.
Greatly respected both inside and outside the Dunmanway area, the Farr family’s strong links to their GAA club is set to continue following the announcement that Mark Farr has taken over as chairperson.
One of the toughest tackling and dedicated West Cork players to ever wear the inter-county jersey, Farr brings a wealth of experience as well as instant respect to his new role.
‘I have been vice-chairperson for the last two years so it is a real honour to step forward as the chairperson for Dohenys GAA,’ Farr says.
‘Mary Maybury stepped down after great service and I just want to work as hard as I can on behalf of the club and do my best. There is a lot to look forward to and getting our teams back out on the pitch whenever this pandemic is finally over. We are still right in the middle of it unfortunately and we don’t know exactly when we will be back but it is a day everyone cannot wait for.
‘Hopefully, the lads will be able to go back to football and hurling sometime before the summer. As I said, all we can do at the moment is look forward to when that happens.’
Having represented Dohenys at every underage level, a 16-year-old Mark Farr made his debut for the club’s junior C team in 1984. Farr featured in the 1992 West Cork junior A and 1993 county junior title successes before picking up a county intermediate medal in 1995.
His consistent displays did not go unnoticed and the Dunmanway native would go on to represent Cork at minor (making his debut at 17), U21, junior and senior level.
The Dunmanway stalwart won Munster minor, U21 and junior (four times) championships with Cork as well as two All-Ireland junior titles in 1989 and 1990. Farr eventually forced his way on to the Cork senior panel and featured between 1993 and 1997. In that four-year spell, the corner-back would win three provincial titles in 1993, ’94 and ’95.
‘Those were great times,’ Farr says.
‘There was a great buzz around the town of Dunmanway back then. Winning is everything, not just for the club but for the whole town.
‘I was delighted to represent Cork, that was a real honour. My own personal highlight of that time would have been playing for Cork below in Killarney and beating Kerry (in 1993) after having lost to them the previous two years.’
The club and inter-county teams Farr enjoyed great success with were young, hungry and eager for success. It is a similar story with Dohenys’ current senior football and junior hurling panels who are hoping to build on encouraging 2020 championship displays.
‘Our teams are very young this year in both hurling and football,’ the new Doheny chairperson says.
‘A good portion of our footballers play hurling as well. I thought we were very unlucky not to win the West Cork junior hurling last year, narrowly losing out to Clonakilty in the semi-finals before they went on to win it.
‘As chairperson, I and the committee will do our very best to help out all of our teams. They can always approach us, that is what we are here for. We want to help all the players and selectors by working together. We want to move on as a club, on and off the pitch.’
Farr points to the addition of the club’s astro-pitch as one of the many positive additions to the Dunmanway GAA facilities in recent times.
‘Without a doubt the astro-pitch has been a massive addition to our club,’ Farr says.
‘The lads are able to train on it during the winter months and really enjoy it. We are getting great use out of it not just with the senior teams, but all the other teams within the club as well. It is nice to see it being used so much.
‘Looking ahead, we have a very strong committee within the club right now. It would be nice to get a few more involved of course and, in time, a few younger people too. Every committee needs fresh voices as time goes on but right now, we have people on the committee that will do their best on behalf of the club.
‘We are here to help the club. Any of our selectors or teams can approach us at any time and we will do the best we can for them. It is going to be very busy once all the matches at the different grades start coming thick and fast but that’s something to look forward to.’