After 12 years under the proprietorship of the Byrne family, The Firgrove Hotel in Mitchelstown was set to change hands. Pat Tangney, owner of the successful Clongibbon House located at New Square, confirmed to The Avondhu that he had purchased the premises and was set to take over in mid-April 1996, in a deal that included the purchase of the adjoining 4-bedroomed bungalow. Bill and Joan Byrne, having moved from England in 1983, brought the hotel to a high standard due to ‘constant upgrading’. With 15 bedrooms and a ‘thriving restaurant business’, Mr Tangney hoped to develop the live music side of the business further, in order to ‘utilise the ballroom area to its full potential’. The reported purchase price was half a million pounds.

St Colman’s College, Fermoy qualified for the Harty Cup final in February 1996, when comprehensively defeating Doon CBS on a scoreline of 6-17 to 0-1 in atrocious conditions in Mitchelstown. Described as ‘ruthless’ and ambitious’, the victory, based on ‘stingy defending’ from the boys in green, saw the Fermoy college side record a 3-10 scoreline by the interval. Standout performances were noted by Tim McCarthy at centre forward and John McCarthy at full forward, allied to the stylish midfield pairing of Paul Cotter and Eoin Murphy.

Members of the Northern Division of Cork County Council sanctioned an immediate clean-up of rubbish at Turnpike Cross, Doneraile – this followed a motion by Deputy Ned O’Keeffe, with residents having expressed their concerns to him regarding the ‘mess’ in the area following ‘an encampment of travellers’.

Great dismay was expressed at the theft of a ‘large mahogany plaque’ displaying six of the Ten Commandments, from Castlehyde Church, located in the grounds of Castlehyde Cemetery. Another such plaque, displaying the first four Commandments, was then removed from the church for safekeeping. Sized at over six feet in height, they were located at each side of the old church altar. Cllr John Murphy said the incident was ‘regrettable’, while pointing out that some memorial stones had also been removed from the graveyard in recent times.

Just as in February 2017, there was speculation surrounding the future of St Francis Welfare Home in Fermoy, which made front page news back in February 1996. Members of Fermoy UDC expressed ‘grave dissatisfaction’ at the content of a letter received from the Southern Health Board (SHB), regarding the future of the Home in the town. The letter stated that the SHB were ‘reviewing the requirements of the elderly throughout Cork and Kerry, adding that 25 of the original complement of 40 beds at the Home were currently being used’. This was in stark contrast to the situation at St Patrick’s Hospital, with Senator Joe Sherlock stating staff there were ‘working under extremely difficult conditions as there was simply not enough beds available’. This, after the Senator learnt that 3 patients, who were admitted to the hospital under the ‘Respite Care’ programme for short stay (maximum of 3 weeks), were ‘not fit to return home after this period and had to be admitted by their relatives ‘to private rest homes’, incurring ‘hefty bills’. Cllr Aileen Pyne understood that ‘moves were afresh to change the emphasis of the Home’.

The official opening took place of the new McCarthy Insurance offices in Upper Cork Street in Mitchelstown, having formerly traded at a premises in Lower Cork Street. Blessed by Canon T O’Leary, the offices were officially opened by Philip Cunningham, underwriter. Also in attendance was Fine Gael TD Paul Bradford, along with both Charles McCarthy Senior and Junior. The home of Mullane’s Hardware store ‘in a previous life’, the ‘ultra modern’ office was brought to fruition by local builders, Fox and O’Rourke.

Fermoy Ladies Hockey Club, having performed well to lead 2-0 against Bandon in the Munster minor A cup replay, saw all their hard work undone after the game was abandoned due to ‘heavy rain and hail’ which saw the home pitch deemed unplayable. Scorers for Fermoy were Nicola Dowling and Angela O’Keeffe.

In brief – Chief Superintendent Ray McAndrew, head of operations of the newly formed Cork North Division of An Garda Siochana, commenced his post in Fermoy. Meanwhile, the stock of Cork County Council-owned houses in the northern division was set to increase by 86 units in 1996 – locally, Fermoy were allocated 14, Mitchelstown 4, Castlelyons 3, Glanworth 2 and Killavullen 2.