Dan McCaffrey RIP

Dan, from one of Omagh's oldest families steeped in Gaelic games and heritage, was a gifted gaelic footballer, who went on to play soccer in both the Irish league and league of Ireland.

He was well known in the motor trade throughout Ireland but will be best remembered for his sporting achievements. He passed away after a short illness.


Dan from the Omagh St Enda's club was a member of the Tyrone minor side that claimed Ulster and All-Ireland Minor titles in 1947 and 48. Dan scored the winning goal in the 47 final as Tyrone beat Mayo 4-4 to 4-3. He was also a key member of the Omagh side that won a first Tyrone senior championship in 1948, the exciting young forward on hand to score a crucial goal.


He progressed to Tyrone's Senior panel but was destined for soccer success. A centre-forward with "plenty of punch" to his game, he first played Irish League football for Derry City during the 1952/53 season. It was during a purple patch in front of goal early in the 1954/55 season for Crusaders that McCaffrey was called into the Ireland Amateur side. He failed to find the net in a 5-0 defeat by England at Selhurst Park.


McCaffrey's time with
the North Belfast Crues proved to be brief as he moved to England in late-October 1954, signing with Southern League side, Worcester City. His prodigious workrate, "rampaging and all action style" and prolific strike rate made him a cult hero with the Worcester fans. At the end of a two year contract McCaffrey joined Yeovil for a small fee of £300 for what turned out to be a brief and unproductive spell. By late December 1956 McCaffrey had joined Boston United where his post-Christmas form fired to third place in the Midland League.

For the 1959/60 season McCaffrey was playing with Sligo Rovers where he finished topscorer with fifteen goals (ten in the League of Ireland) in his only season with the club.

With Drumcondra during the 1960/61 season McCaffrey hit the form of his life and a total of fifty goals in all competitions. This prolific form saw him claim the inaugural Sports Writers' Personality of the Year Award and pick up winner's medals in the league, City Cup and Top Four Cup. The only disappointments were defeats to St Patrick's Athletic in the FAI Cup final (though he scored the opener for
Drum's before St Pat's came back to win 2-1) and to Dundalk in the Leinster Cup. His 29 league goals, which included two five goal hauls, not only saw him finish as the competitions topscorer, but set a club seasonal record.

Among his eleven goals for Drumcondra during the 1961/62 season was a strike in the 3-0 President's Cup final win over St Patrick's Athletic and before he left he had also claimed a League of Ireland Shield winner's medal. In February 1962 he joined Waterford and then spent an injury curtailed season with Cork Hibernians in 1962/63. In December 1963 McCaffrey joined Drogheda and at the end of that season he left senior level football behind at the age of 34.

In later years as he continued with his business interests Dan coached and managed several sides in both codes and also coached the Tyrone ladies senior and minor football squads in the early nineties.
He is survived by his wife Bridie and three daughters - Geraldine, Noelle and Ursula. He has one surviving brother - Don. He is grandfather to Daniel, Janet and Ella. To them and to his relatives and wide circle of friends we offer our sincere condolences. Ar dheia Dé go raibh a anam naofa.

SOCCER HONOURS
Representative Honours: Northern Ireland: 1 Amateur Cap (1954).
Club Honours: (with Drumcondra) League of Ireland Champion 1960/61; FAI Cup Runner-Up 1960/61; League of Ireland Shield Winner 1961/62; Dublin City Cup Winner 1960/61; Presidents Cup Winner 1961/62; Top Four Cup Winner 1960/61; Leinster Senior Cup Runner-Up 1960/61.
Awards & Achievements: Soccer Writers' Association of Ireland Personality of the Year 1960/61; League of Ireland Topscorer 1960/61 (29); Irish Independent Sportstar of the Week January 1961.

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