The best efforts of surgeons at Cork’s University Hospital, failed to save the hand of a young Fermoy soldier involved in an accident during training at Lynch Camp, Kilworth in December 1997. Private Laura Guerin from Marian Square, Fermoy ‘suffered severe shrapnel injuries to her arm when she and four other members of a training group were involved in an accident when a 60mm mortar exploded’. A full investigation was under way and following the explosion, the firing of mortars had been suspended at all army camps in the country, awaiting the finding of the Board of Enquiry into the matter.

“A sad tale of people passing the buck, and failing to take responsibility”, the comment of chairman of Fermoy and District Trout Anglers, Dan Quill to The Avondhu in December 1997, in response to the lack of action “by those in officialdom” to fixing a sewage leak occurring at Fermoy bridge. A local angler, while fishing at a location known as Jones’ Slipway, in July 1997, had detected raw sewage ‘seeping through the underpart of Fermoy bridge’ and entering the River Blackwater. The situation was reported to the local UDC, who said they would investigate. One month later, a three man delegation from the trout anglers club inspected the area, discovering ‘a pipe had been fitted to the wall of the bridge, covering any outward sign of a leak and leading directly into the river’. It was claimed raw sewage was still entering the river. The matter was further reported to the Environmental Officer for the Southern Region; the Principal Environmental Health Officer in the Northern Region of the Southern Health Board, as well as to Junior Minister at the Department of the Environment, Dan Wallace. However, in spite of promises, there was no remedy forthcoming. Hence, the local club going public on the matter, having been “treated with contempt by those in officialdom”.

A historic night for Bride Rovers GAA Club in December 1997, when the parish of Bartlemy and Rathcormac hosted the East Cork GAA Convention in Bartlemy Parish Hall. The main business of the evening saw Rovers’ clubman, Ger Lane unanimously elected chairman of the East Cork GAA Board, replacing Jerry O’Sullivan, following 6 years service.

A look at some entertainment in The Avondhu area in the lead up to Christmas 1997 – Pacific Blue were at The Mountain Barracks; Winnie Murphy’s Traditional Bar in Fermoy were staging 2nd Fret and String Em Up; in Ballyduff, The Angler’s Rest hosted Kaos; Grass Margin were playing at Spratt’s Bar, Mitchelstown, while Ned Duggan was providing music at ‘The Butchers Ball’ in the Castle Tavern, Ballyhooly.

The dispensary at Ballylanders received a timely ‘reconstruction and extension’ in 1997, with funding being provided courtesy of the Mid-Western Health Board. The revamped premises was located at Galbally Road and the facility included sound-proofed nurses’ rooms, a surgery room, physiotherapy and social welfare room. Dr Ken Holmes was practitioner for the area.

The Avondhu GAA Convention took place at Ballyclough Community Centre in December 1997, the first time the convention had taken place in the village in 25 years. Following the presentation of league and championship medals, the election of new officers took place, resulting in Michael Lyons, Araglin taking over, unopposed, as chairman. There was a contest for the position of vice chairman, with Jim Duane, Kildorrery emerging successful over Liam Hanley, Doneraile. Treasurer Patsy O’Mahony in presenting the financial report, stated there was a profit of £1,524, following a ‘small deficit’ in 1996.

The replayed final of the East Cork U21 B hurling championship, which was originally drawn on August 17th, 1997, was some four months later claimed by Bride Rovers, for the first time since the competition commenced in 1973. With opponents Carrigtwohill refusing to play on the appointed replay date, the title had been awarded to Rovers, however in the true spirit of competition, the club offered an alternative replay feeling it was ‘better to win the title on the field’, which was agreed upon, with the East Cork Board fixing the replay for December 1997. Despite poor weather conditions and a ‘gale force wind’, there was a good attendance at Lisgoold. Rovers stormed into an unassailable half-time lead of 4-7 to 1-1, the goals coming from Patrick O’Dowd (x2), Philip Hazelwood and Richie D Cahill. Taking their foot off the pedal in the second moiety, Rovers registered a further green flag, again courtesy of Patrick O’Dowd, as Carrig’ scored 1-2. Final score 5-7 to 2-3. Captain was Donal Ryan.