A very special day in the lives of two young local men in 1997, when both Brendan Mallon from Mitchelstown and Joseph O’Mahony from Fermoy were ordained to the priesthood at St Colman’s Cathedral, Cobh. Family members, friends and the general public offered a warm welcome home to the pair at their respective parish churches for their first Masses, with ‘queues’ receiving the blessings of the newly ordained priests.

While the Fermoy Church of Ireland Union of Parishes saw the institution of a new rector, when Reverend Alan Marley took over the running of the union, stretching from Glenville to Mitchelstown and from Ballyhooly to Knockmourne, near Conna. Christ Church, Fermoy was packed for the occasion, where chief celebrant was the Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross, the Rev Roy Warke. Rev Marley was previously head of the chaplaincy team at Aylsebury Prison, England and arrived in Fermoy with his wife Ann and one month old daughter, Siobhan Catherine.

July 1997 saw the grand opening of The Stroller’s Tavern in Anglesboro, under the proprietorship of Gerard Sexton – Limerick hurler Stephen McDonagh would do the honours.

Gardai reported a ‘relatively trouble free’ Conna Castle Concert in 1997, where headline act Picture House were supported by Kerbdog, Liquid Wheel and Tripswitch. Although some minor incidents did occur, where ‘small quantities of drugs were seized from a few individuals’, along with some ‘minor skirmishes’, the event overall was deemed a success with approximately 2,000 in attendance.

The North Cork IFA Farm Homestead Tour in July 1997 visited a number of prize winning farms, including those of Michael and Anne Kenny, Macroney, Kilworth; George and Frances Buttimer, Gurrane, Fermoy and Billy and Noreen Kingston of Dromahane, Mallow. For £17, a bus tour would also stop at the farm of Michael and Mary Downing of Farranastig, Whitechurch, winners of the Pharmacia and Upjohn All-Ireland Quality Milk Award in 1997.

It was reported as being ‘one hell of a field evening’, as organisers were rewarded with a ‘handsome turnout from four Munster counties, Cork, Tipp, Limerick and Waterford’. The Ballylanders Macra Field Evening in 1997 certainly had something for everyone. Mike Sheehan from Glenbrohane won the grand raffle, taking home top prize of a calf or £200; Agnes Morrissey won the adult fancy dress with her entry ‘Tipperary brush Limerick aside’, while the supreme award went to children’s category winners, Michael and Marie O’Donnell of Cullane for their entry ‘Bertie and Mary happy days – but will it last?’, receiving the Credit Union Cup; Wellie throwing champion was Tom O’Callaghan from Knockadea, while golf putting champion was Ballylanders’ own Eamon Hennessy.

Following 33 years of service with Cork County Council and Fermoy Urban Council, Billy White from Coolmohan, Araglin was honoured at a function in Fermoy town to wish him well in his retirement. Described as an exemplary worker while employed as driver of the council’s scavenging truck, executive engineer with Fermoy Urban Council, Flan Groarke, said Billy was a very popular figure with ‘unfailing good humour’. The subject of many tributes at the function, Billy suitably replied and had the highest of praise for his fellow workers on the scavenging truck, namely John McCarthy, Mike O’Donnell, Sean Hull and Mick Cuffe.

July 1997 saw the official opening of McGrath’s Wise Buy Foodstore on Lower Cork Street, Mitchelstown. Invited guests included Barney, Baby Bop and Queen of the Galtees, Nellie Fitzgerald with the ‘state of the art shop’ under the proprietorship of husband and wife team, Miko and Josie McGrath, previous owners of Miko’s Bar in New Square for four years. Staff members included Marie McGrath (manageress), Priscilla McGrath, Anna Fitzgibbon, Margaret Walsh, Annette Courtney and Gretta McGrath.

Disappointment and ‘shock’ for supporters of Fermoy GAA, with the club’s junior A hurlers defeated by Liscarroll on a scoreline of 2-11 to 0-9 in the first round of the championship. The team were reported to ‘literally throw in the towel once Liscarroll got their noses in front’ and played poorly as a team.

Sporting briefs – Matt O’Sullivan claimed the Irish Life competition at Castlelyons Pitch and Putt Club in 1997, for the third year in succession; Gerry Lane, club secretary of Fermoy & District Trout Anglers, was presented with the Albert Cup, having won the open fly fishing championship, only the second Fermoy man to win the championship in its 20 year history.