Coach Focus: Mark Forker

Mark Forker

1. Tell us a bit about yourself?

My name is Mark Forker – and I’m 35 years-old.

I’m the Editor of a technology magazine called CNME, which is based in Dubai.

I work remotely between Dubai and Donegal and moved home in 2021, along with my wife Mairead and son Cillian.

2) What attracted you to a coaching role with Harps and what do you look to bring to the role?

Kevin McHugh asked me to become involved in some capacity as he’s a big advocate of former players helping out with the Academy.  Davitt Walsh was given the job of managing the 2011 development squad – and Davitt asked me to come in and help him out.

Davitt is a former teammate of mine, and a very good friend, and he’s an excellent coach, so I was delighted to help him out.  We’ve been with the squad since January 2022, and we both love it – and are very lucky to be working with such a talented group of players.  Matty Crossan has also joined us and he’s been a brilliant addition.

In terms of what I’m looking to bring to the role, I’m just trying to lean on my experiences in senior football and pass that on.    It’s tough to play at that level, and you have to make a lot of sacrifices and be fully committed to get there.

However, it’s a bumpy road, with plenty of setbacks, but ultimately we want to help this group of players to play at the highest level that they can – and give them the tools to deal with some of the challenges that they’ll undoubtedly face at some stage.

3) Tell about your history with Finn Harps?

(Earliest memory, favourite player, favourite moment, favourite thing about match day, favourite away ground, whatever you want?) 

My earliest memory of Finn Park is going to Harps v Home Farm. I think it was in 1996. I regularly attended games up until I went away to Hearts in 2005.

My favourite player was Paddy Rivaldo, closely followed by Jonathan Minnock. They were some duo down the left wing.

My favourite moment as a player was scoring my very first goal for Harps against Longford Town, which turned out to be the winner as we won 1-0 – I didn’t score too many!

I am also proud to have played over 100 games for Harps during my time at Finn Park.  Favourite away ground was Tolka Park. Turner’s Cross was very good too – but Tolka shades it.

4) How do you want to see the club and the academy develop in the coming years?

Kevin is doing a fantastic job and I think that’s clear for everyone to see.

I think all the coaches at National League level are putting in a huge effort – and deserve a huge amount of credit for the commitment they are making in terms of developing players for the future.

I think out of necessity in the past the club could only focus on the here and now – but the structures that have been put in place will only serve to benefit the club in the future.

The current squad as you can see is very young, but that will inspire players within the Academy system as they can see a clear pathway into the 1st team squad.  I’ve always said that it’s important that we develop our own players – and we need to foster a culture where we are introducing young players into the 1st team squad every season.

5) Favourite thing about living in Donegal and a ‘saying’ you’d only here in Finn Park.

I moved back to Donegal in 2021 after 5 years in Dubai – and it’s great to be home. When the sun is shining there’s nowhere nicer in the world!

There’s a few sayings that I could mention but it may not be suitable for print!