Gimme Five, ridden by Ken Whelan from Lismore, finished ‘a very creditable fifth position’ in the Aintree Grand National in April 1998. Owned by JP McManus, he was one of only 8 finishers of the gruelling 4-mile event, from a start list of 38. A significant achievement on his first attempt to ride the ultimate test of horse and jockey, he successfully achieved a feat that had eluded many famous horsemen.

An abandoned kitten being cared for by staff of Morrison’s Garage at Cork Road, Fermoy died after being ‘run over’. The lady who had initially discovered the lost kitten was reportedly ‘very upset over the incident’, and was due to collect it from the garage the day it died. However, she was attaching no blame to the garage for the kitten’s death and thanked staff there for feeding it. She told The Avondhu that it was ‘highly irresponsible of people’ to treat animals in such a manner (abandonment).

A little bit of history in Ballyhooly in April 1998, with the opening of ‘the village’s first restaurant’, namely the Riverview Restaurant. Operating under the same roof as The Castle Tavern, proprietors Pat and Teresa Tiernan had ambitious plans to help attract visitors to the village. Seating up to 50 and ‘retaining an old Irish kitchen look’, the eatery would cater for breakfast, lunch and evening meals. With ‘traditional fare’ on offer, the menu also included ‘a sophisticated list of wines’. Further plans by the duo included the addition of a number of en-suite rooms, as well as the provision of ‘a Killarney-style jaunting car’, allowing tourists the opportunity to view the spectacular scenery of the area in a horse drawn carriage. Allied to the pets corner and farm museum, these certainly were ambitious plans, something Pat claimed ‘Ballyhooly had been waiting for’!

Natural Gas

Naturas gas (not the band!) was on its way to Fermoy. Bord Gais made the announcement in April 1998, with phase 1 set to take 12 weeks. The installation of natural gas had proven ‘highly successful in the neighbouring towns of Mitchelstown, Mallow and Cobh’, with the Fermoy project expected to commence with immediate effect. ‘Initially targetting 1,000 homes and 50 commercial units in the Fermoy area over a two to three year period’, phase 1 works would involve the construction of a high pressure transmission pipeline, 5Km in length, from Careysville to Fermoy. Demand was expected to be ‘strong’.

Seven families whose homesteads were served by ‘the worst road in Ireland’, appealed through The Avondhu for Waterford County Council to take immediate action to remedy a 1 mile stretch of road at Tournageeha, Ballyduff. With ‘gullies and crevices up to 18” deep’ running down one particular quarter-mile section of the road, local Fianna Fail councillor, Jimmy Quirke, expressed his exasperation at the situation. Having made representations to Waterford County Council and with £55,000 ‘being passed in the estimates to do the job’, there had been no moves to remedy the road in spite of engineers visiting to view the situation on many occasions. Immediate action was being demanded.

Easter Bonnet Competition

The ‘colourful, bizarre and unprecedented’ Easter bonnet competition, promoted by Kent Street traders in Fermoy, was set to play a part in the festive celebrations in the town on Easter Saturday 1998. ‘Bananas In Pyjamas’, popular favourites with children, would add their ‘special brand’ of entertainment to the occasion, with adjudication by County Sound DJ, Sean Donnellan.

Head of the Chemistry and Microbiology Department at the ‘dairy products research centre, Moorepark’, Dr Barry Connolly, retired in early 1998 having held the position for 14 years.

In brief: A Teletubby doll was among the more unusual items reported as being lost in the weekly ‘Garda Report’ in April 1998 – which one I hear you ask! Conna’s Bevena Broderick, a student of the Keniry School of Dancing, added a gold and silver to her expanding collection by winning a provincial title at the Irish step dancing Munster championships, held in The Neptune Stadium, Cork. Gerard O’Sullivan and Stephen Slattery were set to ‘lose their lovely heads of hair’ in Miko’s Bar, Mitchelstown in April 1998, a fundraiser for the locally based Sunshine Club. John Gallahue from Ballylanders received a silver trowel and specially engraved silver medal, having achieved 1st in Ireland in the National Apprentice competition in bricklaying, held in Dublin Institute of Technology.

Accrington Celtic, courtesy of goals from Donal Kenneally and Fred Carey, claimed the Whelan Perpetual Cup, defeating rivals White City 2-1.