Closkelt Continue on Victorious Way at the Mid Ulsters

Report and results by Andrew Cromie 
Pics by Brian Hasson, Norman Bell and Alan Cupples

Closkelt continued their magnificent start to the 2018 pipe band season with another dominant performance, this time at the Mid Ulster Pipe Band Championships held last Saturday, June 2.  Cookstown High School provided the venue but it was the Co Down band that was the toast of Co Tyrone on a fine day with lots of good performances across the various grades. 

Judges on duty were P/M Richard Parkes MBE and Harry Stevenson (Piping), Alan Ronaldson (Ensemble) and Ian Lawson (Drumming). Closkelt (pictured above) dominated Grade Two and once again took the opportunity to play up in Grade One where they also ran out victors. None of the regular Grade One bands were on duty; however, the Grade Two trio of Closkelt, Colmcille and visiting New Ross and District ensured there was competition to entertain the spectators. Closkelt ran out winners ahead of New Ross, who collected the drumming prize, with Colmcille in third place.

Pipe Major Alan Ferguson (left) and members of Matt Boyd Memorial Pipe Band pictured at the Mid-Ulsters

Back in their usual position in Grade Two, Closkelt enjoyed a clean sweep of the prizes as they lifted silverware for best pipes, drums, bass section and of course the first place trophy. New Ross and Colmcille were second and third respectively, with Matt Boyd Memorial from Grade 3a playing up and placing fourth. Marlacoo & District took the honours in Grade 3a ahead of Drumlough, Matt Boyd Memorial and Thiepval Memorial. Prize for best drums in Grade 3a was scooped up by Quinn Memorial.

Marlacoo pipe major Wayne Byrne receiving the trophy for first in Grade 3A from Aileen Coney, daughter of the Chieftain

St Mary’s Derrytrasna have adjusted to life in Grade 3b with little difficulty and they proved it once again with a victory at Cookstown which included prizes for best pipes and drums. Tullylagan, Major Sinclair Memorial and Clogher & District completed the prize list.  Kildoag have also been enjoying a good form and they kept that winning run going in Grade 4a edging out the challenge of McDonald Memorial, McNeilstown and Augharan.

Officials at Cookstown are L to R: (front row) Winston Pinkerton (RSPBANI President), Kim Ashton (Chairperson of Mid Ulster District Council) and George Usher (RSPBA President) and (back row) Dessie McLaughlin (Secretary of Mid-Ulster Section), Councillor Trevor Wilson (Chairman of Mid-Ulster Section) and Sean Campbell (Chieftain of the Day)

Cullybackey lifted the silverware for best drum corps. Another band building up a steady head of steam is Gransha in Grade 4a. They took a clean sweep of the prizes ahead of Sgt. Walker Memorial, Broughshane & District and Bessbrook Crimson Arrow.



There was plenty of close competition in the drum major arenas where Emma Barr (Field Marshal Montgomery), Jamie Cupples (Mackenzie Caledonian), Abigail Wenlock (Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia) and Louise Smiton (Closkelt) ran out victors in their respective grades.

Tullylaggan at the march past

Grade 1:  1 Closkelt, also best pipes, bass and M&D; 2 New Ross and District, also best drums; 3 Colmcille.

Grade 2: 1 Closkelt, also best pipes, drums and bass; 2 New Ross and District; 3 Colmcille; 4 Matt Boyd Memorial, best M&D.

Grade 3a: 1 Marlacoo & District, best M&D; 2 Drumlough; 3 Matt Boyd Memorial, also best pipes; 4 on ensemble preference, Thiepval Memorial. Best drums and bass: Quinn Memorial.

Grade 3b: 1 St. Mary’s Derrytrasna, also best pipes and drums; 2 Tullylagan, also best bass; 3 Major Sinclair Memorial; 4 Clogher & District. Best M&D Raffrey.

Grade 4a: 1 Kildoag, also best pipes and M&D; 2 McDonald Memorial; 3 McNeillstown; 4 Augharan. Best drums: Cullybackey. Best bass: Tamlaght O’Crilly.

Grade 4b: 1 Gransha, also best pipes, drums and bass; 2 Sgt Walker Memorial; 3 Broughshane & District; 4 Bessbrook Crimson Arrow. Best M&D: Bready Ulster Scots.

Co Armagh Class of Drum Majors at Cookstown

Drum Majors:

Adult: 1 Emma Barr (Field Marshal Montgomery); 2 Lauren Hanna (Lomond and Clyde); 3 Jason Price (Ravara); 4 Andrea McKeown (Battlehill); 5 Alicia Dickson (Matt Boyd Memorial).

Juvenile: 1 Jamie Cupples (Mackenzie Caledonian); 2 Kathryn McKeown (Battlehill); 3 Jason Nicholl (Clontibret); 4 Kara Gilmour (Scottish Fire and Rescue Service); 5 Lucas Adamson (Sgt Walker Memorial).

Junior: 1 Abigail Wenlock (Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia); 2 Leanne Crooks (Syerla & District); 3 Kathy Hunter (Manorcunningham); 4 Lee Nicholl (Clontibret); 5 Zara Cupples (Cullybackey).

Novice: 1 Louise Smiton (Closkelt); 2 Carys Graham (Upper Crossgare); 3 Harry Mills (Syerla & District); 4 Ben Dickson (Lisnamulligan); 5 Mia Buckley (Joseph Forde Memorial).

Get more from the Mid-Ulsters here. The RSPBA have announced the draws for Helensburgh, Lesmahagow and Ardrossan. Check them out here.


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