The Mid Ulster Pipe Band Championships took place at the Coolfranky Grounds of Cookstown High School on Saturday (June 1) when there was an entry of 34 bands and 37 drum majors. This is an excellent venue with an abundance of facilities on site in close proximity to the contest arena. County Tyrone is an area which has probably more pipe bands than any area of Northern Ireland and a large turnout from the enthusiasts as well as the local public makes it one of the better attended events.
Competition throughout the day was keen with the PSNI taking the Grade 1 competition despite strong opposition from Closkelt who lost their Grade 2 unbeaten winning run on Ensemble Preference to New Ross & District.
In Grade 3A, Quinn Memorial had an emphatic win ahead of Clogher, Thiepval and Matt Boyd Memorial who had to be separated on Ensemble Preference when all three tied on 12 points.
McNeillstown are going to be hard to beat in Grade 3B as they secured a maximum score and their third win in a row. Augharan with two piping firsts managed a two point win over Kildoag with Gransha winning the drumming prize. Broughshane & District lifted the Grade 4B title ahead of Mountjoy who had two first places for piping.
The drum major sections continue to be very competitive with David Brownlee taking the Adult title making him, like Rachel Lowry in the Juvenile, the third different winner of the section.
Louis Anderson continued his unbeaten run in the Junior while Carys Graham followed up her County Fermanagh win to make it two in a row.
The adjudication panel was Richard Parkes MBE, John McCarlie, Willie Garrett and Harry Stevenson (Piping), Sandy Steele and Harry Russell (Drumming), Jim Campbell and Ciaran Mordaunt (Ensemble) and Kathy Calvin and Roger Young (Drum Majors).
New Zealand Drum Major’s sash presented for competition at the Mid Ulsters by former Northern Ireland man
At the finale, prior to the presentation of the prizes, former World Champion Drum Major Paula Monahan (née Braiden) presented a framed Drum Major’s Sash which is to be awarded annually at the Mid Ulster Championships to the winner of the Juvenile section along with the traditional trophy.
The Drum Major’s sash came all the way from New Zealand the gift of Drum Major Eddie Ewing who had emigrated from his native Castledawson, County Londonderry, in 1992.
In 1994 he was asked to join his local Horowhenua Pipe Band before going on to join the Manawatu Scottish Grade 1 band. Eddie, who was a self taught Drum Major, started competing in New Zealand in 2001 and went on to become the national champion for four years in a row from 2001 – 2004 a record which remains unbeaten.
The sash is made up of Eddie ‘s drum major awards, New Zealand Gold Medals and badges of honour of lost friends which he has worn proudly for many years.
Sam Glasgow MBE the President of the Mid Ulster Section received the framed sash from Paula and the first winner was Rachel Lowry winner of the Juvenile section on the day.
Grade 1: PSNI (also Best Pipes (shared), Drums, Bass Section & M&D), 2nd Closkelt (also Best Pipes [shared).
Grade 2: 1st New Ross & District (also Best Drums & Bass Section), 2nd Closkelt (also Best Pipes), 3rd Ravara (also M&D), 4th Colmcille.
Grade 3A:1st Quinn Memorial (also Best Pipes, Drums & Bass Section), 2nd Clogher & District, 3rd Thiepval Memorial, 4th Matt Boyd Memorial (Best M&D).
Grade 3B:1st McNeillstown (also Best Pipes & Drums), 2nd Tullylagan (also Best Bass Section), 3rd Major Sinclair Memorial (Best M&D), 4rd Cleland Memorial.
Grade 4A: 1st Augharan (also Best Pipes), 2nd Kildoag, 3rd Cloughfin, 4th McDonald Memorial. Best Drums & Bass Section: Gransha. Best M&D: Cullybackey.
Grade 4B: 1st Broughshane & District (also Best Drums & M&D), 2nd Mountjoy (also Best Pipes), 3rd William Kerr Memorial, 4th Altnaveigh Memorial. Best Bass Section: Ballyboley.
Drum Majors: Adult: 1st David Brownlee, 2nd Andrea McKeown, 3rd Jason Price, 4th Emma Barr, 5th Lauren Hanna.
Juvenile: 1st Rachel Lowry, 2nd Kathryn McKeown, 3rd Kathy Hunter, 4th Jamie Cupples, 5th Lucas Adamson.
Junior: 1st Louis Anderson, 2nd Benjamin Walker, 3rd Jamie Lee Cupples, 4th Leanne Crooks, 5th Lee Nicholl.
Novice: 1st Carys Graham, 2nd Mia Buckley, 3rd Jorja Turkington, 4th Harry Mills, 5th Christie Steele.