County Antrim Championships, Northern Ireland

Glenarm Castle on Saturday last provided a scenic backdrop for the County Antrim Championships, writes Gilbert Cromie.

The championships took place as part of the first day of the Dalriada Festival which has become well established as one of Northern Ireland’s biggest cultural family events taking place at the iconic Glenarm Castle & Village annually each July with an attendance in excess of 30,000 over the two days.

While it was disappointing to see the original band entry of eighteen reduce by fifty percent the reasons for this are fairly obvious given that many bands may have taken part in the Twelfth or Scarva parades just a few days before while many band members were probably trying to squeeze in a quick holiday before the start of the second half of the season which is in Newcastle next weekend.

Fair play to the bands that did make it even if they were missing members due to the reasons outlined before and for the excellent performances on what was yet another warm day. Grade 3A was the highest section and while Marlacoo & District had been the only entry and continued on their local winning streak well done to the Major Sinclair Memorial for stepping up to compete against them and it was not without a little success as they won the Best Bass Section into the bargain.

The Major Sinclair had a clean sweep of the prizes in Grade 3B [Maj. Sinclair drum corps pictured above] however it was good to see Caldwell Hamilton’s Cleland Memorial out competing. McNeillstown had another win in Grade 4A although Kildoag won the Best Pipes trophy so things must have been close. Gransha continue to sweep all before them with a comprehensive win in Grade 4B.

The drum major entry was not affected by too many withdrawals and on the day the winners were Lauren Hanna (Senior), Kara Gilmore (Juvenile), Abigail Wenlock (Junior) and Carys Graham (Novice).

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Then competition was organised by the County Antrim Section with input from the local RSPBANI Branch. Compère Gary Wilson keep things going throughout the day while the competition results were announced by Lorraine Ronaldson. The Chieftain for the day was Her Majesty’s Lieutenant, Mrs Joan Christie CVO MBE.

The adjudicators were Cameron Edgar and John Moles (Piping), Mark Wilson (Drumming) and Jim Campbell (Ensemble) with Alan McBride and Alistair Patterson scrutinising the Drum Major. The results of their deliberations were as follows:

1st Marlacoo & District (also Best Pipes, Drums and M&D)
2nd Major Sinclair Memorial (also Best Bass Section)

1st Major Sinclair Memorial (also Best Pipes, Drums, Bass Section and M&D)
2nd Cleland Memorial

1st McNeillstown (also Best Drums and Bass Section)
2nd Kildoag (also Best Pipes and M&D)
3rd Clontibret

1st Gransha (also Best Pipes, Drums and Bass Section)
2nd Sgt Walker Memorial
3rd Broughshane & District (also Best M&)
4th Bready Ulster Scots

Drum Majors Senior: 1st Lauren Hanna, 2nd Andrea McKeown, 3rd Erinn McIlwaine, 4th Alicia Dickson,

Abigail Wenlock receiving the Junior D/M trophy

Juvenile: 1st Kara Gilmour, 2nd Rachel Lowry, 3rd Kathryn McKeown, 4th Jason Nicholl, 5th Lana Gibson
Junior: 1st Abigail Wenlock, 2nd Kathy Hunter, 3rd Benjamin Walker, 4th Zara Cupples, 5th Lee Nicholl
Novice: 1st Carys Graham, 2nd Louise Smiton, 3rd Mia Buckley, 4th Ben Dickson, 5th Jamie Lee Wilson

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