‘Youth gangs out of control’ was how a number of concerned parents described incidents in Mitchelstown over the Easter weekend in 1997, where ‘a number of youths received severe injuries after being set upon by a gang estimated to number between fifteen and twenty’. Local youths, of both sexes, ‘hell bent on causing trouble’ according to one parent, were responsible for the unprovoked attack which saw two youths knocked to the ground, set upon and kicked repeatedly. Not the first time such ‘street fights’ had occurred in the town, in this instance ‘bottles were used to strike people’. A Garda spokesperson informed The Avondhu the incident was being investigated and was ‘under control’.

Fermoy An Post members Donie Lyons, Michael O’Shea and Michael O’Brien volunteered to shave their heads, to raise funds for the Joanne O’Riordan Appeal. Hoping bald would be beautiful, local residents were instructed ‘not to run for their lives’ if encountering the men following the event – our reporter noting they would be as ‘friendly as ever’, in spite of the fact that they wouldn’t have as much hair as before.

Ned Fraher was dreaming of the sunshine in Tenerife, having received the Gold Award from New Ireland Assurance Co., for top sales nationally for 1996. From Inchacoumb, Anglesboro, this was an award the insurance representative was taking in his stride, the 6th time receiving the top award since 1987!

The lack of progress in delivering a project, which would see the amalgamation of Lismore town’s two national schools, was ‘likely to become an election issue’. No commencement works had been undertaken by April 1997 as the required funding wasn’t released by the Department of Education. Resultingly, there was ‘serious doubt’ as to whether the amalgamation would go ahead as planned in September 1997. Following a meeting of the joint parents’ council, at which ‘there was much heated debate’, a public meeting was being called to help progress the project.

19-year-old college student, Lisa Cussen was declared the 1997 East Cork Easter Queen, thus qualifying to compete in the Cork Rose of Tralee competition. Representing Watergrasshill Community Association, the student of television and video production, ‘spoke highly of Watergrasshill and the people living there’, fending off competition from 12 other contestants before being declared the East Cork queen.

Ned and Sheila Kearney of Ballyheen, Castlelyons, who operated a mixed farm incorporating a tillage and beef enterprise, together with a 46 cow dairy herd, were announced as winners of the prestigious Waterford Co-Op Quality Milk Award at a presentation ceremony in Dungarvan. A ‘rigid focus on hygiene and good stock management’ were key components in achieving the success. The Kearneys also emerged as champion milk producers for the Castlelyons area and would go forward to compete in a new All Ireland Quality Milk Award, against award winners from Snowcream, Premier Dairies, Waterford Ingredients (Virginia) and Express Foods Northern Ireland.

The 81st anniversary of the Easter Rising was commemorated at Kilcrumper Cemetery in March 1997, with local Fianna Fáil TD, Ned O’Keeffe, giving the oration. Piper Jack Murray led the parade to the Republican plot, where a wreath was laid by both Deputy O’Keeffe and Cllr John Dunlea.

Corbett Court, described as ‘Ireland’s largest restaurant’, opened its doors for the first time, with over 1,000 customers travelling from near and far for the occasion. The building, which underwent ‘an extensive renovation’, was previously home to the landmark Blue Dragon. Seating 350, the restaurant employed 85 full and part-time staff.

In brief – One of Munster’s best known and established taverns, The Castle Tavern in Ballyhooly, was on the market, expected to fetch a price in the region of £130,000. Located on Patrick Street in Fermoy, Ryan’s Centra was named Southern regional winner in the inaugural Centra Store of the Year competition, with store manager Pamela Finn accepting the award at the group’s annual conference in Killarney. A special 140th anniversary function was held at The Firgrove Hotel, Mitchelstown in early 1997 to mark the Christian Brothers presence in the town since February 2nd, 1857.

Bride Rovers U21 footballers defeated Cloyne, following ‘a marvellous display’, in the first round of the A football championship on a scoreline of 1-18 to 2-4. Leading 0-9 to 1-3 at half-time, thanks largely to excellent free taking from Jerome O’Driscoll, a second half goal from Pat Cotter finished the match as a contest.