Sport led the news agenda 21 years ago as two sporting triumphs brought Mitchelstown to the world wide stage.
The first was local man Eddie O’Donnell’s selection for the SKIF Irish Karate squad – it was his second time called to represent his country. He was due to jet out for the World Championships in April of 2000 to Indonesia. Eddie was well known in the area as he had been giving classes in martial arts.
There was an other sporting spectacle about to take place as Mitchelstown was gearing up for the arrival of the FBD Milk Ras. Racing cyclists from across the globe were set to arrive in the town on their week-long race around Ireland.
It was thirty years since the Rás made its way into Mitchelstown and organisers believed it would attract thousands into the town. Joan O’Sullivan, Chairwoman of the Community Council, was co-ordinating the arrival of Rás into the town and said that preparations were well underway.
“We are honoured to be the only town in County Cork to have been chosen for this major national event and are confident it will be a great attraction.
“Moreover it will be of great historical importance in the first year of the millennium,” she said. A statement from Mitchelstown Business Association also welcomed news of the event’s visit to the town.
A local school choir were to perform with the National Chamber Choir in an event in Kilworth. The girls of Presentation Secondary School, Mitchelstown, were delighted to be selected for the honour at the Village Arts Centre.
The National Chamber Choir was one of Ireland’s premier chamber ensembles and was made up of seventeen professional singers. The event was part of four national events promoting the work of the choir and they were set to perform with exceptional school singing groups.
Fermoy man John Baragry was preparing for a bonanza as he was set to appear on Winning Streak. Ger, who was a father of two at the time, was said to be approaching his television debut in relaxed mood, knowing that he was guaranteed a minimum £5,000 cash win. It wasn’t his first time striking it lucky – the Cavanagh’s garage worker had already won a Fiat Punto in a computer slogan competition.
But John wasn’t a regular lotto player or buyer of scratch cards, the winning ticket was purchased by his wife Ger, and spent two weeks in her pocket before it was sent off with John’s name on it.
Gardai were hunting thieves who carried out a series of antiques thefts across the area. There were two burglaries in Mitchelstown and Shanballymore. The first took place at a vacant farmhouse in Gurteenatarriffe, in which a number of antique farm equipment was stolen from the building, including a pony cart.
Another vacant house in Shanballymore was burgled when thieves took a solid wooden dresser with an estimated value of £500.
Members of the Traveller community also suffered a loss. A group had been encamped at the Lismore/Cappoquin Road and had vacated the area. They left behind a caravan and on their return, it had been taken. A large van was spotted in the area and gardai were hunting the owner.
The same group of Travellers were also targeted when they were at Mass. Their caravans were broken into and a television, video recorder and generator were stolen.
The Glanworth Country Mill was celebrating after it was given a four diamond guest accommodation rating by the Automobile Association (AA). That meant the business would appear in the AA’s guide to Irish restaurants.
The Mill, renovated from a state of dereliction, opened two years before in 1998 and had already gained a four star rating from Bord Fáilte.
“It was the best Christmas present we could have got and it’s thanks to our staff that it happened,” owner Emelyn Heaps said.
There were concerns over redundancies in Mitchelstown at the Dairygold plant. It was understood that eight workers, some with 30 years service, had accepted a redundancy package on a voluntary basis. The Avondhu reported that there could be upwards of 60 redundancies at the plant over the following months.
In sport, White City FC were celebrating a 4-1 victory over St Molagga’s. By half-time in the match, White City were 3-0 up having ‘run the defence ragged’. The match report said the team ‘killed off the game’ after 62 minutes with their final score.