Allegations of abuse of some of the animals participating in a donkey derby at the Avondhu Hunt Show held in the Showgrounds, Fermoy in 1997, were causing much reaction locally. Young Hannah Wood (15) had penned a letter to The Avondhu highlighting the alleged cruelty, which ‘caused considerable reaction from our readers’. One letter in response, commended Hannah for her stance, condemning the ‘thoughtless participants, with a boorish sense of fun’. While animal lover Nuala McNamara, known for her tireless work to assist animals in need, confirmed the alleged incident had been notified to the gardai, the donkey sanctuary and the SPCA. Organisers were set to issue a response following a committee meeting.

‘Dud notes’ were in circulation in the area in August 1997. Staff at Fermoy Golf Club encountered a dud £20 note over the bank holiday weekend, which gardai described as a ‘good copy’, although the quality of paper was ‘not up to standard’. Meanwhile, a ‘young woman with a child in a brown/red car’ was reported to be passing £5 dud notes in the Killavullen area.

Taking matters into their own hands in an effort to drive rural enterprise in South Limerick, it was reported in August 1997 that a group of at least 9 individuals would travel to the USA, visiting 10 states on a ‘pioneering expedition to attract investment from major American food processing industries for the Ballylanders region’. Galbally’s Jim Fitzgerald, who along with Marcus Clifford were the principal organisers of John Gallahue’s election campaign in June 1997, decided to harness his canvassing team’s enthusiasm ‘for the development of south east county Limerick’. The focus was primarily to attract American companies to invest in developing an egg processing industry locally, allowing a ‘no-risk investment package’ for farmers, by supplying ‘houses, pullets and meal’. Those interested in joining the group’s ‘self-drive minibus through no less than 10 states’, were invited – airfare came to £621, while ‘the estimated cost of travel, accommodation and food would be in the region of £1,300’.

Fears of a ‘freak summer flood’ of the river Blackwater in Fermoy thankfully abated in August 1997, following heavy rainfall over the bank holiday weekend. Indications had pointed to the possibility of ‘an unnatural August monsoon’, however gardai in the town confirmed that ‘no phone call came from Mallow to prepare for the worst’, as residents breathed a sigh of relief with water levels falling to a safe level.

Such was the ‘atrocious’ nature of the weather, community festivals in both Lismore and Clogheen were badly hit over the bank holiday weekend, while Castlelyons Haggart Threshing Club made the decision to postpone their weekend threshing event following the heavy rainfall, due to the condition of the fields and crops.

Two of Fermoy’s most talented snooker players were preparing to represent their country, as part of an 8-man team, at the World U21 Snooker Championships, to be held in the Ivy Rooms, Carlow. Daithi Whelan and Mark Pyne were proudly representing Fermoy CYMS, the only club to have two representatives participating.

In brief – Glanworth’s Festival King of 1997 was announced as Pat O'Sullivan, who was presented with the Martin Gallagher Cup. Conna’s Carla Blake again came up trumps, as her annual open garden day in summer 1997 raised over £4,000 for both the Fermoy branch of Cope and Marymount Hospice, Cork. The Dairygold Cup Waltzing Competition proved a great success in The Firgrove Hotel, Mitchelstown with Declan Roche, Waterford and Mary McCarthy, Conna overall winners – MC for the occasion was Denny Murphy.

White City were crowned Noble Cup champions in 1997, defeating an ‘in-form’ Colaiste an Chraoibhin team at Carrig Park, Fermoy 4-3 on penalties, following a scoreless encounter. With ‘daylight fading and the penalty shoot-out only commencing at 9.05pm’, local soccer legend and Fermoy FC Club chairman, Pats Noonan then presented the trophy to captain Billy McCarthy, who had finally won a Noble Cup medal having played in no less than 12 finals!