‘Suspected marauders’ were operating in the area, with gardai issuing a warning to the public to be on the look-out for this ‘very verbal and pushy group’. Before The Avondhu went to press in early February 1996, gardai noted that five reports had been received of ‘vans calling on out of the way houses in the Ballyduff/Araglin area’. These vehicles bore Galway, Mayo registration numbers, as well as what were described as ‘suspect’ English number plates. The gang involved were apparently calling at houses, purporting to sell everything from gates, to carpets and rugs, with gardai strongly suspecting this to be a cover for reconnoitering premises in order to carry out future burglaries.
Special celebrations were held in the Scully household near Killavullen, when Brigid ‘Bea’ Ryan reached the magic age of 100. A special Mass, celebrated by Father Timmy O’Connor in Killavullen parish church, was followed by a party held in her honour. A lady who lived life to the full, she spent a large part of her life in the US and travelled extensively throughout the world, with her grand-niece Anne Scully saying she had a marvellous attitude to life. Described as a brilliant cook, it seems longevity was in her genes, with her mother living 11 weeks short of 100, while her siblings lived well into their seventies and eighties.
February 1996 saw the withdrawal of many new age travelers from Kilmurry House, outside Kilworth. Gardai arrived on site, arresting two members of the community, where bench warrants had been served on both. It was reported that one of the two men arrested is said to have been ‘hiding amongst a herd of sheep in a shed on an adjoining piece of land’. While the precise reasons for their departure was unknown, it was understood that ‘increasing pressure from members of the local gardai’ was behind the exodus. A garda spokesman informed The Avondhu the house was found to be in a ‘desperate state of repair’, with the house ‘plundered for firewood and lead’. Most of the windows had been broken and lead, removed from the roof, had reportedly been ‘sold off by some of the new age travelers for a not inconsiderable amount of money’.
Galbally Macra hosted a victory celebration in honour of ICMSA president, Frank Allen. Held in The Sporting Life, Brendan O’Donnell presented Mr Allen with a carriage clock and his wife Ann with a box of chocolates. It was thanks to Brendan O’Donnell, Mags Cunningham and Josie O’Reilly for serving the sandwiches and cocktail sausages.
Young Emma Meaney from Kilcaroon, Ballyporeen, a pupil of the local Convent school, was announced as runner-up in the Telecom Eireann Design A Call Card competition. A significant achievement, when one considers a nationwide entry of 35,000. A member of staff at the Convent school said she had ‘a great eye for colour’.
A crowd of approximately 50 turned up to hear Nora Bennis launch a local branch of the National Party. However, the event wasn’t without controversy, as ‘members of the local branch of the Christian Solidarity Party openly criticised Ms Bennis for setting up branches of the party in the Cork-East constituency when Christian Solidarity had broadly the same appeal’. It was felt the presence of both parties would split the vote in the next general election, thus ‘ensuring no candidate from either party would be successful’. Formal addresses at the event were given by Ms Bennis, Michael Sheehan (Castlelyons) and Adrian O’Donovan (Cobh).
Cork senior footballer Mark O’Connor was special guest at the gathering of Glanworth GAA and Ladies Football Clubs at The Firgrove Hotel in February 1996. A ‘glittering display’ of silverware was testament to the success of the clubs – with the junior footballers capturing the Fitzgerald, Avondhu, Autumn and Wiley cups, while Glanworth Ladies Football Club provided the captain, Maria Browne and eleven other members of the victorious Cork team which won the All-Ireland junior title. Chairman Frank O’Flynn presented Mr O’Connor with a leather briefcase in honour of the occasion.
In brief – ‘Tullamore Dew’, owned by the Dawn Run Syndicate, Rathcormac won the Hotel Minella Derby at the Clonmel National Hunt Championship – the local hero was paraded through the streets of Rathcormac. History was made in Ballyduff with the establishment of a ladies football club, with 21 members in total – Paddy Jim Feeney was elected chairman.