What was established as being the body of a young seal was located by a farmer spreading fertiliser ‘in the middle of a large field (near Fermoy), close to where the river Funcheon meets the Blackwater’ in January 1998. “I got off the tractor to have a good look, it took me a while to figure out what the creature was. I checked it out in a couple of nature books when I got home and I’m convinced it’s a seal”, the farmer stated. Local angling groups were puzzled as to how it was possible for a young seal to have made such a long journey – a ‘wrong turn at Youghal’ proving a fatal move. Dispelling claims that the ‘creature’ was an otter, the farmer said, “It’s definitely a seal, it has no legs, only flippers, it has to be a seal”.

The importance of education to a Kilworth-based travelling family was highlighted, as one parent outlined to The Avondhu. Having been away for a ‘short time’ over Christmas 1997, the Connors were always intent on returning, viewing the education in the local primary school for their 19 children as vitally important. Based at Kilally near lands owned by the Department of Defence, one parent said the biggest issue they faced daily was transporting all the children to school, as the men would leave early, taking the vans away. The children were described as being “fairly content” with their schooling.

The ‘sumptuous black and white puddings’ produced by Hanley’s Butchers in Mitchelstown received recognition at the national finals of the Irish Master Butchers Federation competition in Dublin. Recipients of a ‘Highly Commended’ award and a Certificate of Merit, Ned Hanley heaped much praise for their success on the shoulders of Anthony Considine, who kept the very high standard of their famous recipe, which of course was ‘a well kept trade secret’.

Councillors from across the political spectrum paid warm tributes to Minister Ned O’Keeffe at a civic reception in his honour, hosted by Fermoy UDC in January 1998. The reception was aimed at recognising the achievements of the Ballindangan native, with UDC chairman, Michael O’Dwyer stating that Mr O’Keeffe had ‘proven himself an able politician at both local and national level’.

‘Great praise’ was forthcoming for Jimmy Noonan and staff at the Co-Op SuperStores in Fermoy, for the care and attention they gave to five Alsatian-type pups discovered dumped in the yard. Described as 2 to 3 month old animals in ‘very bad condition’, they were passed into the care of well-known animal lover, Nuala McNamara.

Following on from a call for the setting up of a club in the Mitchelstown area to provide ‘recreational activities for children with special needs’, January 1998 saw the formation of The Sunshine Club. Chairperson of Mitchelstown Community Council, Carole Bradley, told The Avondhu that the club’s success would largely depend on ‘support from several quarters’. Volunteers and finance were sought and the club was planning to arrange outings, walks, swimming trips, parties, etc for the children. Tim Healy from the Southern Health Board attended an informal meeting, claiming ‘a coherent sense of direction was vital’ to the club’s success.

After 23 years of dedicated service, much respected principal at Clogheen National School, Pat O’Malley was set to move to Cahir to take up a new teaching position.

Work was set to commence on the development of a specially designed warehouse facility outside Fermoy, which would bring ‘the treatment of waste into the 21st century’, according to sales director with South Coast Transport, Pat O’Flynn. The establishment of the storage depot was part of an EC directive aimed at bringing Ireland into line with other European countries. Once operational, 10 new jobs would be added to the workforce at the Corrin facility.

Three secondary school students from Loreto Fermoy took the overall title at the Cork Mental Health Association Public Speaking competition in January 1998. Speaking on ‘The mental health of a nation is the product of a lifelong interaction between the individual and society in different life settings’, Maeve Barry, Margaret Caples and Mary Moore-Corry shone brightest and took the title.

The numbers 6, 9, 15 and 21 netted Araglin man and Co-Op SuperStores, Mitchelstown employee John O’Brien a handsome £2,800 in the Mitchelstown Leisure Centre Project Lotto.

The ladies from Loreto Fermoy secured the Cork county schools’ football cup in January 1998, defeating Carrignavar on home soil. Captain was Mary McHugh.