Bonfires blazed in the baronies of Castlelyons and Ballyduff, as both villages saw their sides return home in triumph, having secured county titles in the final week of November 1997. The hurlers of Castlelyons captured the Cork junior A county title when defeating a gallant Courcey Rovers side, while the footballers of Ballyduff easily overcame Ferrybank in the Waterford junior county championship. See match synopsis below.

Reported as living in ‘appalling circumstances’, two Traveller families residing near the industrial estate in Fermoy appealed to both Fermoy UDC and Cork County Council ‘to urgently consider their request for running water and toilets’. Conditions at the site were posing ‘a serious threat to the health of the inhabitants’. Intent on settling in Fermoy, the McDonagh family had settled well in the community with three children attending a local primary school. Speaking to The Avondhu in December 1997, both Kathleen and Margaret McDonagh outlined the basic facilities at their disposal and their wish for better services. Requests for a bigger caravan had been turned down by the Southern Health Board on the grounds that accommodation needs were ‘adequate’. Supported in their efforts for better living conditions by the Fermoy Travellers Support Group, which included Fr Winkle CC Fermoy and Sr Kathleen Murphy of the Blue Nuns as members, Sr Kathleen stated it was the group’s ‘Christian duty’ to do what they could.

Cork Airport was the venue for the launch of ‘Great Aviation Stories Vol 2’, the 12th book from the pen of Fermoy author, Michael Barry. Featuring 13 stories, including the Munich Air Crash of 1958 and the mystery of the Bermuda Triangle in aviation terms, the 184 page book was priced at £5.95.

Fermoy Macra was ‘alive and well’ judging by the success of the organisation’s golden jubilee function in The Grand Hotel. Those in attendance, including one of the founding members Bill Magnier from Kilworth, heard guest speaker, Matt Dempsey, editor of the Irish Farmers Journal, outline the challenges that members had to face ‘head-on’ in a radically changed world of agriculture from 50 years previous. David O’Flynn was awarded the Mark Fenton Memorial Cup for his outstanding contribution to Macra. 300 copies of a special publication reflecting the Fermoy club’s history, titled ‘Fermoy Macra na Feirme, The Golden Memories – A 50th Anniversary Celebration’, were available for purchase.

Snippets – Kathleen Barry, Rathcormac and Cork ICA Federation, was announced as winner in the Raytex/ICA Christmas Cake competition. Just over 12 months in business, the Willie Andies situated in New Square, Mitchelstown was one of 176 pubs nationwide to be awarded the title of ‘Irish Pub of Distinction’ – proprietors were Billy and Mary English. Minister for State at the Department of Defence, Seamus Brennan TD, presented Johnny Maunsell, Civil Defence officer, Fermoy with a 20 years long service medal at a function in the Phoenix Park, Dublin.

The junior footballers from Ballyduff ‘annihilated’ Ferrybank in the Waterford county final at Fraher Field, Dungarvan. Over as a contest at half-time, when leading 1-7 to 0-1 (the goal from Tony Scanlon), Ferrybank only added a further 2 points to their solitary first half score. The ‘Reds’ bridged a 44 year gap, their first such title since 1953, on a final scoreline of 1-11 to 0-3. Team and scorers: Kevin MacNamara, Kenneth Geary, Ml Drislane, Donal Hannon, Tom Feeney, Patrick Molumphy, Ger Feeney, Paudie Prendergast, Ml Molumphy (capt – 0-1), John Twomey (0-5), Jim O’Neill, Tom Molumphy, Brendan Hannon (0-2), Tony Scanlon (1-2), Kevin Barry (0-1). Subs used: Brendan Cotter, Alan Martin, James Scanlon. Other panel members: Diarmuid Flynn, Ml Leamy, Owen Corcoran, Dermot Bolger, Noel Hayes, Eugene Flynn, Tommy Feeney.

Meanwhile on the hallowed sod of Pairc Ui Rinn, Cork, a nail-biting junior county hurling championship was fought to the death by two very competitive sides, with Castlelyons emerging victorious by the narrowest of margins, 2-9 to 1-11 over Courcey Rovers. Following a blistering start by the “Abbeysiders”, they took a 2 point lead into the interval, 2-4 to 1-5, the goals from Paul Cashman and Padraig O’Brien. Four unanswered points by Rovers in the last 10 minutes drew the sides level, however following tit-for-tat scores, ‘Eoin Fitzgerald became the hero of the hour’ with the winning point. Team and scorers: A Barry, B O’Connell, W O’Riordan (capt), JP Dorgan, B Fitzgerald, T Hickey, P Cotter, S Cotter (0-1), P Murphy, P O’Brien (1-0), D Sheehan, P Cashman (1-1), E Fitzgerald (0-4), M Spillane, S McAuliffe (0-3). Subs used: T McCarthy, S Murphy.