Michael was originally from the New Lodge area of North Belfast. After leaving school he learned the trade of French-polishing, subsequently setting up a business in the Short Strand area of the city. In his spare time he loved to socialise, although unlike many he could enjoy himself without having a drink as he was a teetotaler. He was also a keen musician, being a good guitarist.
In 1969, with the spirit of revolution on the rise once more, Michael joined the IRA. In doing so he was continuing a family tradition. His grandfather Jack Coogan was an active volunteer in the 1920’s, when he was prominent in the defence of Nationalist areas during the Loyalist pogroms. In June 1970 Michael emulated his grandfather when he fought in the Battle of St. Matthew’s, during which IRA volunteers defended the Short Strand from a rampaging mob of Loyalists. His guerilla days were to end a couple of months later.
On September 4th 1970, Michael and his comrade Tony O’Kane fell victim to an accidental explosion near Newforge Lane in South Belfast. Michael was killed outright, while O’Kane was seriously injured and discovered by the RUC when they followed a trail of blood to a nearby house. Michael was 35 years old when he died, leaving behind a wife, three sons and three daughters. He was laid to rest by family, friends and comrades in the Republican Plot in Milltown Cemetery.