In a moving tribute to their son and brother Michael Doherty, his family have spoken of their heartache and love following his sudden and untimely passing.

Messages poured in for the 23 year old from Ballysooragh, and with the memories they have of their much loved son and brother, the effect he had on those he came into contact with during his life, the Doherty family have something strong and precious to hold on to and remember him by.

Sitting in their kitchen with pictures of a smiling Michael on the table, his parents, Stevie and Palm, brothers Ryan and Ronan and sisters Stephanie and Laura remember a “beautiful boy”.

Football mad from a young age, it was when he hit 11 or 12 years of age that he fell in love with agricultural machinery.

Being born into the family farm at Ballysooragh, Michael couldn’t but miss that inherited love for farming, aspiring to be just like his dad. His love of machinery evolved from the days of the brown 110-90.

Michael’s true passion was contracting and driving his beloved John Deere 6155R, he loved nothing more than mowing, lifting, sowing, bailing, drawing, hauling and buck raking. He carried out his work with “diligence and pride and had a special bond with his boss”, Johnnie which was “very much reciprocated”.

“He would be the last man to leave. If something broke down at 9 or 10 o’clock at night and everybody else would want to pack up and go home, he would say we’ll try and get it fixed. He certainly had a good work ethic,” said the family.

And it was through his work that he made so many lasting friends who knew him fondly as “Wee Doc”.

Michael’s friends were welcomed into the family home where they shared stories which were of great comfort to the family, from the different farms he worked on and the lasting impression he made with the farmers who got in touch with his boss to pass on their heartfelt condolences:

“It was so lovely to hear stories you never would have heard.

“We laughed and we cried along with them and I think they all just loved and cared for each other.

“He just wasn’t a tractor driver he carried himself well.

“Michael loved talking to people and he had a lasting effect on so many people.”

Michael was so truly loved beyond measure by his family,” they said.

Michael’s heart was “full of all the desired attributes”. He adored his niece and nephews, Noah, Thomas, Aria, Jasper and Reuben. They too shared their love of the farm with Michael, and Michael was only too delighted to visit them and get down on his hands and knees with their tractors and play alongside them.

Nothing would do until he took Noah, Thomas and Aria up into the tractor only days ago, when he so proudly helped his dad in Abocurragh, the family farm, to cut the silage.

His dad stood with so much pride and awe as he watched his Michael successfully cut the silage on this huge machine, nothing short of a jumbo jet, accessorised with flashers and emblazoned with DOC on the glass door.

He loved his devoted girlfriend Louise. Two peas in a pod, they shared the same sense of humour and zest for life, planning for so much in the years ahead together, according to the family. He never forgot a Christmas or birthday present for his niece and nephews.

The outpouring of love and respect for Michael was evident with people standing at the roadside as he made his journey home.

Family, friends and the wider community showed their respect to Michael and his family with a Guard of Honour on Monday and then again on Wednesday morning.

“It was unbelievable. It definitely showed us he was a popular young man.

“They definitely turned out in style for young Michael. It was very comforting.”

Michael’s family say they could speak for an eternity about their son and brother and so could the many people he encountered in his life.

To Michael’s girlfriend Louise and her mother Diane who called Michael the son she never had. To all who left messages or brought food to the house. To all his friends.

To Father Quinn who was an immense support throughout. Pascal Conway the undertaker who conducted everything in the most unobtrusive way, Michael’s family will be forever grateful.

Michael Doherty, dearly loved son of Stevie and Palm. Dear brother of Ryan (Leanne), Stephanie (Mick), Ronan (Nikki) and Laura (Conrad).

Loving Partner of Louise Boyle. Devoted uncle to Noah, Aria, Thomas, Jasper and Reuben was laid to rest on Wednesday, July 22.