THE Irish equestrian community was deeply saddened at this week’s passing of Michael Hennessy, director of the Board of Showjumping Ireland. Over the last 40 years, Michael, a native of Whitescross, Cork dedicated his life to shaping national show jumping.

As a child he spent many years at gymkhanas with his sister Pearl and brothers Lorcan and Coleman and there is little doubt that this is where his love of show jumping started. It was through show jumping that Michael met many friends who will miss him dearly.

Michael started off competed in pony show jumping classes, recording many memorable moments with his famous pony Merry. After a riding accident, he hung up his boots and instead began to shape show jumping through administrative channels. His knowledge, and his dedication to making improvements, saw him became involved in all aspects of the sport.

Along with being a director of Showjumping Ireland, Michael also served as a director of Horse Sport Ireland and was on many advisory groups.

Michael served for many years as the head of the SJI’s Management and Finance committee, and was also chair of the National Judges committee. Along with being part of new projects within show jumping, he assisted with administrative duties within the SJI head office. He had an extensive knowledge of all aspects of show jumping, in particular judging. He rose up through the ranks to become an FEI Level 1 International Judge.

For many, Michael was the ‘go to person’ for any judges’ queries and he knew the rules inside out. He also had great IT knowledge and assisted many shows and venues during Covid-19 with the new SJI Live system.

Michael served faithfully in his region for many years and was chair of the Cork-Kerry Branch, of which his mother Eileen Hennessy is honorary president. He was the Munster Regional Treasurer and worked tirelessly to help promote the sport in his region. For many years, Michael ran the Whitecross Gymkhana, which donated funds to local charities. He was also involved in the Cork Summer Show and just a few weeks ago was there to greet Taoiseach Micheál Martin.

Reposing in Barry Bros. Funeral Home, Hazelwood Glanmire on Monday, July 4th (4pm-5pm), Requiem Mass will follow at 11am on Tuesday in St. Joseph’s Church, Springhill, Glanmire with burial afterwards in St Catherine’s Cemetery, Kilcully. May he rest in peace.