Ballymena was the setting for the 74th All Ireland Pipe Band Championships which were held at the beautifully manicured and spacious grounds of the local Academy School. The fact that every car parking space was taken by lunchtime indicates what a massive attendance there was and the weather was everything you would want and at times maybe too hot for some.
If the weather was hot so too was the competition and none more so than in a cracking Grade 1 contest in which the St Laurence O’Toole Pipe Band (pictured above) from Dublin annexed the All Ireland title on ensemble preference over Field Marshal Montgomery after both were tied on 12 points.
Miraculously the FMM Drum Corps managed to erase its 11th placing at the Scottish to actually win the All Ireland Drumming Championships. In Grade 2 it was Ravara all the way as they got straight first places from the judges ahead of Closkelt.
St Mary’s Derrytrasna lifted the Grade 3A title by a four point margin over St Joseph’s Clondalkin who won the drum corps prize.
Grade 3B was a close contest with McNeillstown and Tullylagan tying on six points but not for the first time this season it was the County Antrim band taking first prize on ensemble preference. Tullylagan won the piping and McNeillstown the drumming.
By Gilbert Cromie
In Grade 4A Augharan continued their winning ways although second placed Kildoag won the piping and third placed Cullybackey the drumming.
Grade 4B with eighteen bands proved to be an interesting contest with Broughshane & District winning by a seven point margin and many congratulations to Pipe Major Davy Reid and his band for producing a superb sound that many a band in a higher grade would relish. The Black Raven from Lusk were placed second and won the drumming.
In the drum major competitions last week’s three Scottish Champions, James Kennedy (Senior), Kara Gilmour (Juvenile) and Louis Anderson (Junior), all won their sections while Carys Graham won the Novice Juvenile.
Novice Juvenile: 1st Carys Graham, 2nd Mia Buckley, 3rd Harry Mills, 4th Jorja Turkington, 5th Mia Lily Fraser.
Junior: 1st Louis Anderson, 2nd Benjamin Walker, 3rd Leanne Crooks, 4th Grace Thompson, 5th Jamie Livingston.
Juvenile: 1st Kara Gilmour , 2nd Kathy Hunter, 3rd Kathryn McKeown, 4th Rachel Lowry, 5th Rebecca Hamilton.
Senior: 1st James Kennedy, 2nd Lauren Hanna, 3rd Emma Barr, 4th Andrea McKeown, 5th Vikki Singer.
Grade 4B: 1st Broughshane & District (also Best Pipes) , 2nd Black Raven (Best Drums), 3rd Carlow, 4th Mountjoy. Best Bass Section: New Ross & District. Best M&D: Major Sinclair Memorial.
Grade 4A: 1st Augharan (Best Bass Section), 2nd Kildoag (Best Pipes), 3rd Cullybackey (Best Drums & M&D), 4thMcDonald Memorial.
Grade 4B: 1st McNeillstown (also Best Drums), 2nd Tullylagan (also Best Pipes & Bass Section), 3rd Major Sinclair Memorial, 4th Cleland Memorial. Best M&D: Major Sinclair Memorial.
Grade 3A: 1st St. Mary’s Derrytrasna (Best Pipes Tied), 2nd St Joseph’s Clondalkin (Best Drums & M&D), 3rd Battlehill, 4th Thiepval Memorial (Best Pipes Tied), Best Bass Section: Clogher & District.
Grade 2: 1st Ravara (also Best Pipes, Drums & M&D), 2ndCloskelt (also Best Bass Section), 3rd Manorcunningham . 4th New Ross & District.
Grade 1: 1st(Ensemble Preference) St Laurence O’Toole (also Best Drums in the Medley, Best Bass Section & M&D), 2nd Field Marshal Montgomery (also Best Pipes, Best Drums Overall including MSR), 3rdPipes & Drums PSNI.