The matter of ‘filthy’ telephone kiosks came on the agenda of the monthly meeting of Fermoy UDC in February 1998. Cllr John Murphy, who described them as ‘filthy and disgusting’, wondered if a change to ‘open stand up kiosks’ might improve the situation. Noting the kiosks appeared to be used as litter bins, he further stated they were in a ‘terrible state’ and had ‘a desperate smell’. Bring on the mobile phone…

“When we set our mind to something in Conna, you can be sure it will be followed up and completed” – the words of Willie Kearney, who led a deputation of locals to address the February meeting of the Northern Division of Cork County Council in 1998. Ambitious plans for the development of a field just outside Conna village on the Tallow road were outlined, however financial assistance from the county council through the Amenity Grants Scheme was sought. The project had an estimated development cost of £90,000, with approximately £15,000 already raised. The ‘first class facility for all the community’ would, if progressed, see the development of dressing rooms, a car park, provision of a new entrance, etc.

‘Veteran’ Castlelyons runner Dick O’Brien mixed his musical talents with his running prowess in February 1998 to launch a tape (remember those things!) in advance of the 21st holding of the prestigious Ballycotton 10 road race, containing the appropriately titled song ‘The Ballycotton Ten’. A well known singer and musician in his locality, he had penned the song 5 years previous, when ‘doing badly’ in the Ballycotton 10 and finding the race ‘a struggle’. The wonderful sense of comradeship which was evident to him when ‘struggling and back down the field’ inspired the composition.

Dance talent aplenty in Killavullen – the Coakley twins Arthur and John, along with Natalie McSweeney and Danielle Broe, came 1st in Munster and 2nd in the All-Ireland U13 Irish dancing championships.

A special Diocesan Lourdes Mass in February 1998 in St Martin’s Church, Kilworth, celebrated an upcoming missionary trip being undertaken by local husband and wife, Michael and Ella Lovett, along with Fr Jackie Corkery, who had spent 16 years in St Colman’s College, Fermoy. All three were part of a Kiltegan Missionary team set to work with the people of Mashabele in the district of Witbank, South Africa. St Martin’s Church was ‘packed to the rafters’, with bus loads of worshippers travelling from all over the diocese. Chief celebrant Bishop of Cloyne John Magee, in the company of over 30 priests from the diocese, praised ‘the courage and devotion shown by the trio’, who would be working in ‘very difficult’ conditions. Such was the crowd in attendance, that many ‘viewed’ the Mass from a television link-up in the nearby community hall.

Exciting new plans for major development works to Fermoy Community Youth Centre would make the Ashe Quay venue as good a facility as was available in any town of its size in the country. In conversation with chairman of the centre, Ned Flynn and manager Pat Hurley, The Avondhu revealed the extensive and ambitious plans, which, according to Ned, were ‘the final part of the jigsaw’. It was hoped development work would commence shortly after tendering was complete in mid-March 1998, with LEADER funding of great assistance to the project.

Quiz show ‘Blackboard Jungle’ was proving a breeze for representatives from CBS Mitchelstown, as trio Steven Hanley, Michael Murphy and David Condon accounted for Caherciveen CBS, Co Kerry in the group semi-final, progressing as one of the last 12 teams in the country to the round-robin section. The show was hosted by TV and radio personality Ray D’Arcy.

Trocaire’s Asia project officer, Marie Smith from Castlelyons, was urging people to participate in the 2FM/Trocaire 25 hour fast to assist people struggling with poverty, including refugees from Burma displaced and living in camps in Thailand and Bangladesh. Having travelled to the country in July 1997 to assess the human rights situation and viewing first hand a country ruled by ‘an oppressive military’, she stated ‘If every man, woman and child in Cork contributed just 3p to Trocaire, we would be able to continue to assist these people in need’.

Accrington FC – ‘the lads from Kilworth (along with the adopted man from Fermoy)’ – captured the North Cork League Division 2 title, coming from behind to defeat St Mologgas 2-1 away from home. Second half goals from Fred Carey and Sean Carey brought ‘scrum-like celebrations’, which by all accounts continued long into the night in Kilworth.