Plumbing and heating contractor, William Kearney, a man noted as being ‘not new to the inventions game’, had developed ‘a knacky little tool’ which was set to end those plumbing blues. His undersink spanner could be operated ‘in every tight corner imaginable’ allowing easy access to that difficult copper or plastic pipe underneath a sink or wash hand basin. Developed due to necessity, this was only the latest in a long line of inventions by the Coolnakilla man, who could claim among his ‘creations’ an underfloor draft system, plastic goal posts, a horse shoe puzzle and a wardrobe radiator.

The telephone exchange located at Edward Street in Mitchelstown was reported in May 1997 to have completed a ‘digital upgrade’, a noted ‘historic step forward’. 1,000 numbers beginning with the digits 24 were upgraded ‘to the high-tec world of digital technology’ meaning that subscribers assigned the digits on their phone lines could avail of all the ‘mod cons’, such as call waiting, call answering, ISDN, call forwarding and the very valuable ‘hotline for the elderly’. The exchange was reported as being ‘somewhat of a flagship for Bord Telecom and their predecessor, the P&T’, with the new system completely quiet and much more versatile than the one which saw the introduction of the ‘new 84 and 85 digits’ in 1990.

Seen in many quarters as ‘a calculated vote-getting exercise just a few weeks before the general election’, the announcement by the Environment Minister that Phase 3 of the Fermoy Water Scheme had been finally approved, was nonetheless welcomed not alone locally, but throughout the Cork East electoral constituency. However, it was noted that work would not get underway until 1998 and such was the scale of the work required, it was estimated that the town’s residents and industries would have to wait until the year 2000 before the project was fully up and running. Estimated to cost in the region of £3.5-£4M, the project would necessitate the laying of 5 miles of pipework, as well as the construction of a water tower and reservoir in the vicinity of the Uplands Estate.

Described by a source to The Avondhu as the deliberate dumping of dairy farm slurry by vacuum tanker into the Gradogue River at Kilshanny/Ballinamona Bridge, the ‘wanton act’ wiped out all the game fish over a half mile stretch of river. Officials from Cork County Council and Southern Fisheries Board were on the scene in May 1997, when ‘a tractor drawn tanker of slurry was observed off-loading into the river by the road bridge’ – the driver then reportedly proceeding to wash out the tanker and vacuum, fill it with clean river water, ‘while the lethal cargo of destruction floated down the stream, killing all before it’. There were calls for such ‘rogue farmer practices’ to stop, with better civic spirit and community care called for.

The intermediate choir from Loreto Secondary School, Fermoy won the regional finals of the Telecom Eireann Schools’ Choir Competition, held in Cork Opera House in May 1997. Conductor was Marjorie Moran.

Good news for those availing of the ‘many and varied services’ at Mitchelstown Day Care Centre at Robert Street, Mitchelstown following the purchase of a new minibus, at a cost of some £25,000. Acknowledged as a lot of money and financed from the Centre’s own finances, chairman of the bus committee, Mick Hayes commented, “if anything is worthwhile then money shouldn’t stop you”.

Lismore athlete Patricia Cahill, from New Street, a recreational management student at Waterford Institute of Technology, was awarded the 1996-97 WIT Sports Personality accolade in May 1997, in recognition of her outstanding athletics achievements over the previous year. She was the reigning Munster senior triple jump champion, had won gold in triple jump at the third level All-Irelands, as well as taking medals in both the 100m and 4x100m relay.

A triple medal haul for Grange/Fermoy AC athlete, Shane Thornton at the Cork County  BLOE Track & Field Championships in May 1997. Securing silver in the U15 long jump event (5m 68cm), Shane followed up with another silver in the triple jump having stretched out to a PB of 11m 40cm; the hat-trick haul was secured, when achieving bronze in the boys U15 100m sprint. Not a bad day’s work!

Michael John Meaney and Darragh Lyons from Ballyporeen Handball Club were members of the Tipperary U12 & U13 team of six, winners of the All-Ireland team 40/20 title in Salthill, Co Galway in May 1997.