Position: 1st Team Manager
1st Team Manager, Newry City Athletic Football Club
During his playing career, Darren started out at Glenavon FC before joining Newry Town, playing in the youth and reserve ranks. Subsequent to this he had a spell at Bessbrook United where he won the Mid-Ulster Intermediate League, before a stint at Armagh City followed. Darren then plied his trade in the Junior circuit, captaining Windmill Stars to every honour available in the local game – the highlight of which was the Junior Cup in 2003 (as of 2016, the last club from the area to win it).
After his playing days finished, Darren took up a youth coaching role at Newry City in 2007. Darren made such an impact on the club and was promoted to first team manager when the club reformed as Newry City AFC in 2013.
In his first season at the helm Darren guided the club to the Mid Ulster Intermediate B title in 2014 and the Mild Ulster Intermediate A title followed in 2016 – which led to the club’s promotion back to the ranks of Irish League Football. In August 2016, Newry City AFC proudly took their place in the newly formed NIFL Intermediate League, the third tier of Irish League football. Following a hard fought league campaign Darren Mullen’s side were unlucky to miss out on the Intermediate League title, finishing as runners up in the Division. But all was not lost as their second place league finish secured a Promotion/Relegation Play-Off with Armagh City, who finished second from bottom in the NIFL Championship. Over the two legs Newry proved too strong for the Orchard men, finishing up as resounding 7-1 victors and in the process clinching a place in the NIFL Championship.
Life in the second tier had a rocky start as Newry registered just one win in their first seven encounters but Newry found their feet again and just one loss came in their next 19 league outings, catapulting Mullen's men to the business end of the table. After Institute secured the Bluefin Sport Championship title, NCAFC finished in a play-off position for a place in the Danske Bank Premiership against Carrick Rangers. Mullen’s men won the first game 3-2 at the Showgrounds and followed that up with a 3-1 victory in Carrick to triumph 6-3 on aggregate. During this time Darren has achieved a UEFA A license and is also the Head Youth Scout in Northern Ireland for English Premiership club Everton FC.
Darren will be taking to the stage first at ‘Perform in Your Field’ but won’t be able to stay for long. The dedicated manager needs to get back to his team as they prepare for an important match against Warrenpoint Town at the weekend. Be there early to get a chance to ask him your questions and hear Darren tell the story of the fall and rise of Newry City Athletic Football Club. The story is so good that a feature length film called ‘Here We Are’ has been made which documents the fortunes of the Northern Ireland Premier Intermediate League Club over the course of the 2016-17 season as they battled for promotion!