With annual running costs of £40,000, a lack of sufficient sponsorship brought the announcement in May 1997 of the unexpected cancellation of the Mitchelstown Music Festival – an event which had brought a much needed boost to the local economy annually during the August bank holiday weekend. A disappointment to many, the festival had grown to be ‘one of the largest free music festivals in the country’, with, at its height, an estimated 20,000 music fans having ‘thronged the square’ in 1995 to see super-group Boyzone.

Correspondence received by Fermoy UDC in early May 1997 from solicitors representing Cllr John Hussey, gave notification that the High Court proceedings threatened against the UDC and its chairman, Richie O’Leary, had been called off. Cllr Hussey informed The Avondhu that he had decided to withdraw his legal action ‘so that the town and its Council would not have to go through what could be a lengthy court case’, adding that he felt ‘he had proved a point by taking the action in the first place’. A case that ‘could have cost Fermoy UDC several thousands of pounds in costs’ if it had proceeded, the move was welcomed by Town Clerk, Michael Cremin, stating he hoped ‘the Council could now get back to the business of managing the affairs of the town’. Cllr Hussey stated he was ‘at a loss’ as to why his motion at the January meeting of the UDC in 1997 was not accepted, which resulted in matters taking the legal route, however he felt that ‘the current chairman had a problem with his presence in the council chamber’. Something chairman O’Leary ‘rejected out of hand’, stating he was a ‘democrat’ who had previously supported motions put forward by Cllr Hussey. The question now was, would the ‘expected’ apology from Cllr Hussey be forthcoming at the May 1997 UDC meeting.

Having purchased the old railway station building in Lismore, Northern Ireland natives John O’Neill and Caitriona MacReynolds were pushing ahead with plans to open up a centre for teaching traditional skills, such as wood turning and carving, blacksmithing, basket making, etc, at the premises. The couple also hoped to convert the ticket office into a railway museum.

A deputation of concerned parents and pupils from Glenahulla National School turned up in their numbers at the Northern Committee roads meeting in Fermoy Courthouse in May 1997, to highlight their ‘real fears’ for children’s safety at the school. The deputation were reported to have ‘looked a colourful bunch’, as they displayed their banners and placards prior to the meeting, which bore messages such as ‘Slow Down’ and ‘Speed Kills’. Looking for the immediate introduction of ‘a system of flashing amber lights’, spokeswoman for the parents’ association, Mary Griffin, stated that the main problem was a lack of visibility when pulling out from the school, coupled with speeding cars and large articulated lorries on the main Mitchelstown-Mallow Road – ‘a recipe for disaster’.

The choir at Loreto Secondary School, Fermoy were once again on song, with the 92-girl ensemble winning the regional final of the Telecom School Choir Competition in May 1997, their fifth win in a row in the intermediate section. Conductor was Marjorie Moran.

At a windswept Riverstown venue, the footballers from Mitchelstown CBS captured the Cork Colleges U16 title in May 1997, powering their way to a 12-point winning margin against Youghal CBS. Inspirational captain Padraic Slattery (Galtee Gaels) caused the opposition defence ‘many problems’ and playing into a strong breeze in the opening half, the boys from ‘Town led at the interval 2-9 to 0-6. Adding a further 7 points to their opening half tally, the result was rarely in doubt and the Brother Hallahan Cup was on its way back to Mitchelstown.

Galbally junior rugby team ended their season on a high, when capturing the AIB Cup, following a hard fought victory away to Thurles. Three penalties from the ‘trusty boot’ of Conor O’Shea were enough to take the title, on a 9-6 scoreline. Miah O’Donnell was captain.

The U15 hockey team at Loreto Secondary School, Fermoy claimed the league title and defeated Ballincollig 1-0 in the Munster final, to secure the U15 O’Brien hockey shield in 1997. Coached by Miss R O’Brien, the side was captained by sweeper Sarah Buckley, while leading goalscorer in the campaign with 5 goals was Anne O’Connell.