People described as ‘hangers on’ by rally organisers were believed to be responsible for a series of high-speed escapades carried out during the Cork 20 Rally in 1998, which involved a stage from Glanworth to Fermoy. While organisers were said to have carried out their duties in a professional manner, concern was expressed locally about the ‘unofficial’ rallying that took place.

Suped-up cars driven by young males carried out a display of reckless driving during the rally stage. In one incident close to Grange National School, those involved performed a series of hand-brake turns that terrified local residents.

Other reports indicated that some of the drivers reached speeds estimated between 70mph and 80mph on byroads between Glanworth and Fermoy.

Reckless driving was also witnessed in Fermoy town, when Cork-bound traffic backed up at Wolfe Tone Park was recklessly passed on the outside by a number of rally cars and followers.

Miraculously, no one was injured.

Sizeable crater

A loud bang that left a sizeable crater on the road at St James’s Place in Fermoy was the result of a build up of air during the laying of the new gas pipeline. The implosion in October 1998 caused minor physical disturbance when a pipe was being cleaned using a device called a ‘pig’, with a rapid discharge of air resulting in a loud bang. 

‘Slipshod service’

Mitchelstown based solicitor Cllr Conor O’Callaghan hit out at the way RTE dealt with the problem of poor television reception in the Mitchelstown area. In an age of digital television and satellite communication, it was unacceptable that much of Mitchelstown should be left without an adequate television service, Cllr O’Callaghan declared.

“The people of Mitchelstown should not have to put up with such a slipshod service,” he said. However, RTE gave assurances to Cllr O’Callaghan that the problems would be sorted by the Autumn.

International Space School for Loreto classmates

Loreto Fermoy classmates Elaine White and Aoife Lucey had boldly gone where no other pupils at their school had ever gone before, after their three-week stint at the International Space School in Texas left them both over the moon. The duo were hosted by astronauts and employees of NASA and were given an invaluable insight into all aspects of space exploration.

Among the well-known astronauts the girls met was Andy Thomas who worked on the Russian space station, Mir. They toured the Plasma Rocket laboratory, the robotics laboratory, the life-support system laboratory, Ellington Field and Mission Control. They also attended the memorial service of Alan Shepherd, the first American in space.

Good turnout to honour Kitty

There was a full house in Ballyduff Community Centre to mark the retirement of well-known school teacher, Kitty Joyce. Originally from Kilfinane, County Limerick, Kitty spent some time teaching in Galbally National School before teaching for a period in Tullamore, Co Offaly. In 1954 she arrived in Ballyduff to take up a position under headmaster, Mr O’Neill.

In sport

St Bartholomew’s ladies football team won the 1998 East Cork Minor Championship at Lisgoold, when they defeated Inch Rovers by two points. A first-half goal by Elaine O’Farrell was the difference between the sides at the half-time break, St Bartholomew’s leading 1-03 to 0-03, but it was the gutsy performance of the Bride Rovers/Watergrasshill combination of defenders that ensured victory. Catherine McHugh, Michelle Barry and Tricia Kearney all excelled in a memorable win, but the highlight of the day was Eleanor Carey’s rendition of ‘The Wild Rover’ during the post-match celebrations. 

There were great scenes of jubilation in Galbally when news filtered through that Noelle Casey had won the All-Ireland U14 handball title in the 60×20 girls championship. Noelle narrowly lost the first of the three game encounter 14-15, but comprehensively beat her Meath opponent in the remaining two games 15-7, 15-4. The victory was Noelle’s third All-Ireland handball title in 1998, having previously won the Munster and All-Ireland Colleges Championship and the Munster and All-Ireland 40×20 titles. Jack Dillon and Bernie Hennessy helped with Noelle’s preparation and their expertise and advice was a contributory factor in her success.

Fermoy’s John Mahon was selected by the Irish Amateur Boxing Association (IABA) as boxing coach to the Irish team for the Weiner Neustadt Multi-nation Tournament in Vienna. The tournament, considered a very important fixture in the LABA calendar, was where Fermoy’s Declan Higgins won a gold medal three years previously. As well as being appointed coach for the tournament, John was also elected president of Munster and vice president of the Irish LABA, displaying the high regard with which he was held.