Locals turned out in strength in Ballylanders to give a warm welcome to the country’s first citizen. For the people of the South Limerick village and the surrounding area, the visit of President Mary McAleese to officially open the Sancta Maria Residential Centre was just reward for a community involved in a most worthy project. Loud in her praise for the people of Ballylanders, the president said they had helped complete this project because they cared, “You cared because you are special people and because you want Ireland to be a place that cares for everyone – a place where all its children are afforded the dignity and respect they deserve as human beings”.

Cappoquin gardai who attempted to disperse a crowd in the town centre came under attack and were forced to call on reinforcements from Tallow and Dungarvan. Gardai drew batons as the crowd turned increasingly violent, showering them with glasses, bottles and stones. The incident, which took place in the town’s main street and described by Cappoquin gardai as ‘ugly’, involved up to 20 people. The trouble flared when a large group of people started to congregate on the town’s main street. Two people were arrested and charged with public order offences.

The valuable work being done by Mitchelstown Heritage Society was highlighted in the grounds of Kilclogbane Graveyard, when the Irish Ambassador to Luxembourg, Ms Aldine Skinner, unveiled a monument to mark the site where the Normans founded a settlement called Villa Michael or Baile Mhistéala (Mitchelstown). Kilclogbane Graveyard dates back to the 12th century. The founders were a powerful Norman family called the Saint Michaels. Credit for founding the town has gone to FitzDavid de St Michael, who along with hundreds of others, is buried in the graveyard.

An individual who described himself as ‘a regular churchgoer’ contacted The Avondhu in November 1998 to raise his concern over the safety of the church in Ballindangan. The caller claimed that the church had been subjected to several acts of vandalism, the most serious being an attempt to set fire to part of the building. A water chute was also broken and a press was forced open, with its contents scattered around the church. Other incidents included the removal of pamphlets and the taking of candles. Gardai confirmed that they were investigating the matter.

The infamous steps, that had for years plagued the lives of those residing in the Richmond Hill area of Fermoy, were finally removed. A particular hindrance to those with prams and buggies, the steps were levelled off and sloped, with work being carried out by Fermoy UDC. Among the first to welcome the development was prominent community activist, Michael Dingivan, who said he was delighted that the Richmond Hill area was finally given the attention that it deserved.

A determined Kilworth Tennis Club team secured a memorable victory in a very challenging Division 3 final of the 1998 North Cork Cup in Mitchelstown. The Kilworth team captained by Ann Walsh and ably aided by Jim McCormack, Marie Walsh and Liam O’Donoghue, overcame a strong Mallow team in a dramatic final. At the conclusion of a tight contest, which hinged on the final game, victory went to the Kilworth side.

Owen Hegarty was the hero as Ballyhooly clinched the U14 football league title, beating Tomas Russells on a 6-06 to 7-01 scoreline. Played in atrocious conditions at Shanballymore the match was a most exciting and entertaining league final between two well matched teams. Ballyhooly were the deserving winners because in Owen Hegarty, they had the outstanding player on the field – his fielding, his running with the ball and off the ball, his passing and his shooting were a joy to watch – but this was no one man show as every player contributed to a marvellous victory, which was some consolation for their championship loss to Kildorrery earlier in the season. It was a marvellous end to a great year in 1998 for the Ballyhooly juveniles. This team won the U14 hurling championship, contested the league final and lost narrowly in the U14 football championship final. The U12s won the football league and contested the championship final and were also beaten in both hurling finals, while the U16s won the football league.