High Spirited End to the Norhern Ireland Pipe Band Season at Portrush

By Gilbert Cromie; pix by John Kelly

The Ulster pipe band season came to an end on Saturday last when the Recreation Grounds, Ramore Head, Portrush, provided the background for the North West Championships and the end of the Champion of Champions season-long competition.

In the picture above Lauren Hanna (Senior Drum Major) is pictured leading the ‘Salute to the Chieftain’ during the Massed Bands at the end of the day. While it was essentially dry it was breezy with a distinct chill in the air. However the pipe band community and their supporters are a hardy bunch and they made the most of it. At the finale the bands gave their World Champions, Drum Majors Jason Price, James Kennedy and Rachel Lowry and the drum corps of Tullylagan, the traditional pride of place at the march on and a rousing reception.

The NI Branch made presentations to mark their achievements as well as marking the retirement of Drumlough bass drummer Ian Moffett who has almost half a century’s service with Newry bands, Frontier and Altnaveigh, Bessbrook Crimson Arrow and McDonald Memorial. The highlight of the day was the parade through the town which was a cheerful affair as the bands played to a massive crowd who had thronged both sides of the seaside town’s main street.

Police Service of Northern Ireland Pipes & Drums, winners of Grade 1 at Portrush

PSNI won Grade 1 and best drums and also won the Champion of Champions prizes in both main categories. In Grade 2 Closkelt did the band and drum corps double and whilst they carried off the Champion of Champions band title, Manorcunningham took the drum corps prize. Marlacoo & District won Grade 3A with Upper Crossgare winning the drum corps prize, however Drumlough held of the challenge of both bands to claim the Champion of Champion accolade for both band and best drums.

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In Grade 3B and its Champion of Champions, Quinn Memorial did the band and drum corps double to cap a great return to the local scene. Champion of Champions band and drum corps in Grade 4A, St Mary’s Derrytrasna, did not attend so Tullylagan won the grade and Clontibret the drumming title. Gransha did the band and drum corps double in Grade 4B taking the Champion of Champions band title from Kildoag who held onto the drumming title.

Tullylagan drum corps, 4A World Champions, pictured at Portrush

The drum major winners were Jason Price (Adult), Emma Barr (Juvenile), Rachel Lowry (Junior) and Louis Anderson (Novice). The Champion of Champions were Jason Price (Adult), Emma Barr (Juvenile), Jamie Cupples (Junior) and Louis Anderson (Novice).

Pipe Major Dylan Walker (left in back row) and Lisnamulligan Pipe Band, crowned 4B Champions of Champions at Glasgow Green, are pictured against the picturesque backdrop of Ramore Head, Portrush

Results: Grade 1: 1st PSNI (also Best Pipes, Drums, Bass Section and M&D), 2nd Ravara, 3rd Closkelt. Champion of Champions: PSNI (Band and Drums), Bleary & District (Bass Section) Grade 2: 1st Closkelt (also Best Pipes, Drums and Bass Section), 2nd Manorcunningham (also Best M&D), 3rd Colmcille, 4th Thiepval Memorial. Champion of Champions: Closkelt (Band and Bass Section), Manorcunningham (Drums). Grade 3A: 1st Marlacoo & District (also Best Pipes), 2nd Upper Crossgare [also Best Drums], 3rd Drumlough, 4th Matt Boyd Memorial [also Best M&D]. Champion of Champions: Drumlough [Band and Drum Corps]. Upper Crossgare [Bass Section]. Grade 3B: 1st Quinn Memorial [also Best Pipes [shared], Drums, Bass Section and M&D], 2nd Battlehill [also Best Pipes [shared], 3rd Clogher & District, 4th Major Sinclair Memorial.

Judges at Portrush: P/M Richard Parkes MBE (Piping), John Wilson (Piping), Ciaran Mordaunt (Ensemble) and John Black (Drumming)

Champion of Champions: Quinn Memorial [Band, Drums and Bass Section]. Grade 4A: 1st Tullylagan, 2nd McNeillstown (also Best Pipes – shared), 3rd Clontibret (Best Drums and Bass Section), 4th McDonald Memorial (also Best Pipes – shared – and M&D). Champion of Champions: St Mary’s Derrytrasna (Band and Drum Corps). Tullylagan (Bass Section). Grade 4B: 1st Gransha (also Best Pipes, Drums and Bass Section), 2nd Lisnamulligan, 3rd Kildoag (also Best M&D), 4th Sgt Walker Memorial, 5th Bessbrook Crimson Arrow, 6th William Kerr Memorial. Champion of Champions: Gransha (Band and Bass Section). Kildoag (Drum Corps).

Rachel Lowry (Armaghbreague Pipe Band) World Champion Junior Drum Major, James Kennedy (Closkelt Pipe Band) World Champion Juvenile Grade Drum Major and Jason Price (Ravara Pipe Band) World Champion Adult Grade Drum Major pictured at Ramore Head

Drum Majors: Adult. 1st Jason Price (Ravara), 2nd Lauren Hanna (Lomond & Clyde), 3rd Alicia Dickson (Matt Boyd Memorial), 4th Andrea McKeown (Battlehill), 5th Lauren Abraham (Ballybriest). Champion of Champion. Jason Price. Juvenile: 1st Emma Barr (Field Marshal Montgomery), 2nd James Kennedy (Closkelt), 3rd Kathryn McKeown (Battlehill), 4th Jason Nicholl (Tullylagan), 5th Lana Gibson (Ballyboley). Champion of Champions: Emma Barr. Junior: 1st Rachel Lowry (Armaghbreague), 2nd Kara Gilmore (Scottish Fire & Rescue), 3rd Jamie Cupples (Aughintober), 4th Rebecca Hamilton (Tullylagan), 5th Lucas Adamson (Gilnahirk).Champion of Champions: Jamie Cupples.  Novice: 1st Louis Anderson (Crozier Memorial), 2nd Leanne Crooks (Syerla & District), 3rd Benjamin Walker (Battlehill), 4th Louise Smiton (Closkelt), 5th Carys Graham (Upper Crossgare). Champion of Champions: Louis Anderson.

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