Johnny Hickey – A tribute from Killarney and District Motor Club
Johnny Hickey RIP A tribute from Killarney and District Motor Club April 25th 2021
On Saturday morning last the rallying fraternity, not only locally, but throughout the country reacted with shock, disbelief and devastation when the news spread quickly that 37 year old Johnny Hickey, one of the country’s best known and most popular rally competitors, had passed away suddenly at his home in Killarney
The outpouring of sympathy to his wife Jennifer, his three young children Alyson, Laura and Conor and to the extended Hickey and O’Connor families bore testimony to the esteem in which Johnny was held by all who came into contact with him through work or sport.
Johnny started his rallying career at the age of 16, co-driving for his father Charlie, and for the following two decades the father and son team became one of rallying’s most competitive and consistent crews in their various MK 2 Escorts, which were always well prepared and equally well driven.
Even before he started competing, Johnny was a member of Killarney and District Motor Club and from the outset was one of those members which every club loves to have; namely a competitor who is willing to willingly take on more than his fair share of the multitude of tasks which have to be completed behind the scenes long before the flag falls at the start of the first stage of the rally.
For several years now his primary task has been the preparation of the programmes for both the Rally of the Lakes and the Historic Rally.
His level of attention to detail was legendary, and indeed at times frustrating, but he never failed to come up with a programme which reflected the many hours spent locating good photos, seeking out interesting articles and ensuring that the finished programme at least equalled and possibly surpassed the previous year’s publication.
If he felt that entries were coming in slower than the organisers would like, he would make countless calls to competitors throughout the country and further afield to the UK, even though many of those he was encouraging to enter might well be his direct competition in his own class
Such was the respect in which Johnny was universally held that a phone call from him was more often than not the personal touch which made up the minds of competitors to come to Killarney, even when they might have earlier made up their minds to compete in a different event.
Johnny has left us far too young and his going leaves a great void in the lives of those who knew and loved him
He will be missed most of all by Jennifer, Alyson, Laura and Conor and by his parents Charlie and Joan, his sister Charlene, brothers Cathal and Stephen and the extended Hickey and O’Connor families
He will be missed too by his work colleagues, his fellow mountain bikers, Legion GAA Club and his neighbours who could always turn to him for a helping hand.
For Killarney and District Motor Club, a return to rallying without Johnny will be a much poorer place, where his knowledge, advise, contacts and incredible work ethic will be sorely missed and virtually impossible to replace.