Drummindoo West, Westport and Saula, Achill
Michael Cafferkey was the eldest of five children born to Sonny and Bridgie Ann Cafferkey. He was born in London but moved back to Saula, Achill, at two years of age, a place he always regarded as home.
At just 21 years of age he married the love of his life Patricia Gallagher and they were blessed with a very happy marriage. They had a wonderful loving relationship and they enjoyed each other’s company, being at their happiest when they were together.
Michael was also a wonderful father to Donna, Ryan and Dara. He was kind, understanding, caring and giving. He was a great provider and contributed generously enabling them to achieve their ambitions and aspirations. He was extremely proud of their personal and academic achievements. He was also a very proud granddad and loved his adorable granddaughter Eabha.
Michael always had a great love of sport and played Gaelic football for his local team St Vincent’s, captaining them in 1984 centenary year when they won the Scanlon Cup.
He also played Gaelic football for Achill, winning West Mayo Championship medals at U-14, U-16, U-18 and U21. The highlight of his playing career was playing in the All-Ireland Vocational School final in Croke Park in 1977. He also played soccer for both his local club and Achill underage and won several tug of war trophies.
In 1991, Michael recognised the potential of a young group of Achill players and decided to get involved in managing this team. He was instrumental in sourcing sponsorship for football gear/bags etc. From the outset he was convinced that this team was talented enough to win the Junior County Championship, which they duly did and the following year they got to the Intermediate County Final.
He was also delighted to be involved in the management of the Westport Minor Team who won the West Mayo Minor Championship in 2005.
He had been an active member of Westport GAA. He secured considerable sponsorship for the sideline pitch billboards and also cosponsorship for team jerseys. He also frequently umpired at matches, sold tickets and was a member of the fundraising committee.
He supported Man Utd all of his life and made several most enjoyable trips to Old Trafford, when Man Utd were, thankfully, victorious on all those occasions.
Michael set up his milk business in the mid-eighties, he worked extremely hard in those early years. He was very resourceful and if an extra delivery had to be made he frequently engaged the help of an unsuspecting, good-natured motorist, who just happened to be going in the right direction. They always obliged, even when it meant going out of their way. He in turn would be equally as obliging.
Michael’s hard work was eventually rewarded when he was made sales manager and this was a role that he relished. He especially enjoyed the sales aspect of this and held each of his customers in great esteem. He had a natural business acumen, he was a good delegator and had a knack of getting the best from his work force. He valued his drivers highly and appreciated all they did and endeavoured to help them in any way he could.
Michael was diagnosed with a serious illness on September 3 2013. He fought this illness with great dignity and spirit. The illness never defined him and normality was key in his battle.
Even though his mobility deteriorated, he still harboured hopes of returning to the job he loved - impaired mobility was not and was never going to be, a hindering factor.
His acceptance of his illness and the way he dealt with it was extraordinary.
He never complained and always remained so positive. He retained his sense of humour. He was determined, brave, strong and heroic right up to the end.
He passed away so peacefully on March 29 2017 in the home where he had lived so happily and contently, and surrounded by those he loved.
As his family, it was an honour and a privilege to care for him and journey with him.
He will be greatly missed by Patricia, Donna, Ryan, Dara; son-in-law Shane Kelly; granddaughter Eabha; brother Paul; sisters Helen Moran, Martina Cafferkey, Mairead Conway and extended family.
May he rest in peace.