Radio personality Robert Walshe of 103FM County Sound, landed a prestigious contract with drinks giant, Murphys, which would see him become ‘the voice of Murphy’s Irish Stout in America’. Due to work commitments and short notice, the dual citizen – a holder of both Irish and American passports – had to turn down the offer of being flown to New York to make the inaugural recording for the radio adverts. However, thanks to ‘modern technology’ a link up from the County Sound studios in Mallow, via San Francisco to the Big Apple, allowed for a 2-hour recording to kick-start the promotion.

‘Lucky Joe!’ read the headline. Ballyduff man Joe Barry, had a miraculous escape in February 1997 when during high winds, the ‘trunk of a beech tree… crushed his car only seconds after he had parked it to go to lunch’. The tree, which split in two during the strong gale, fell across the roof of the vehicle, causing enough damage for it to be considered a write-off.

Senator Joe Sherlock stated that members of Cork County Council ‘were sleep walking when they adopted a County Development Plan for 1996, which prohibited the building of houses within a radius of three miles of the centre of towns and villages’. The only exception being if a person/family had resided in the area over the previous 7 years – a policy the Senator termed as ‘disastrous’ and needed to be changed in the interest of schools and business life.

What was ‘still a most hidden world to adults’ was brought into clear focus in February 1997, thanks to the efforts of students from St Fanahan’s College in Mitchelstown, organisers of an information night for teenagers about the dangers of drugs, drink and smoking. Undertaken as part of a new Leaving Certificate course, the meeting was confined to students of senior classes and their parents. Stating there were ‘drugs in every rural village and every town in Ireland’, guest speaker Sergeant Jimmy Lynch spoke of the poisonous products being pushed for sale to teenagers for huge profit. While Dr Elma Gaffney highlighted the health dangers of smoking.

Strong words from Fermoy Boxing Club coach, John Mahon, in February 1997 who was ‘heavily critical of Cork County Council for failing to provide the club with a premises, despite several promises over the last number of years’. The club had developed into ‘one of the most successful clubs, not alone in the county, but throughout Munster’, and the criticism followed the ‘dispute regarding the sale of parts of the old Faber Castell complex in Fermoy by Cork County Council to a private concern’. He claimed the club had been given ‘promises and more promises’, even being asked to select suitable sites in the old complex for their needs. Stating that ‘such a sale (of parts of the Faber Castell complex) should have been executed by means of a public auction’, he felt ‘the deal was done in some secrecy’. Final words on the matter, the club wanted a premises, not promises.

‘Startrek’ was showing at Fermoy Community Youth Centre Cinema in February 1997, along with ‘Evita’ starring Madonna. The Moscow Ballet were performing ‘La Classique’ at Cork Opera House. The Butterfly Band were entertaining patrons at The Log Cabin, Ballyduff; Finnegan’s Wake were at The Three Counties, Kilbehenny on Valentine’s Night, while The Unknown Legends were on stage in An Bodhran, Mitchelstown, where ‘Bangers and a pint’ were available every Friday and Saturday – yum, feeling hungry already!

An impressive 10 medals were brought back to Fermoy following the 1997 All-Ireland Racquetball Championships, held in Arklow. This included 4 golds, won by Leon Roche, Liam Hughes, Ruth Beecher and Grainne Dunlea.

The Munster junior B league hockey title was secured by Fermoy ladies for the third year in a row, following defeat of Clonmel in Tipperary Town, on a 2-1 scoreline. A game which started at a frantic pace, saw Fermoy take a two goal lead, with Lorraine O’Keeffe amongst the goalscorers. Having narrowed the margin to the minimum, a very determined Clonmel side went all out in search of an equaliser, with the final whistle ‘greeted with a mixture of great relief and jubilation’ by Fermoy’s players. Team captain was Mary Ryan. It was noted that Patsy O’Flynn, who ‘covered miles along the sideline, would be nominated for an Oscar for his role as medical attendant following Rose O’Brien’s injury’.