RSPBA NI Branch confirm contests/ Leinster Contest/ Howth Contest/ 10th Bangor BB

The RSPBA NI Branch have now confirmed all of their venues for the 2024 season and have also confirmed that several dates have fallen by the wayside.

The mini band contest which had been organised by Irvine Memorial for May 4th in Fivemiletown was cancelled due to lack of entries, whilst the NI Branch competition set for June 15th failed to find a host council and it too has been scrapped.

By Gilbert Cromie, Northern Ireland Correspondent

The following are NI’s confirmed dates: June 1 Mid Ulster Champs., Cookstown, June 29 Antrim & Newtownabbey Champs., Antrim, July 6, All-Ireland Championships, Donabate, August 3, Ulster Champs., Cookstown, and August 10 Heart of Down, Newcastle.

Branch Chairman, Alastair Patterson said, ‘This past couple of months have been extremely challenging due to funding constraints and have pushed us to the point that new strategies and thinking will be required to enable us to fund and run future events. As we all know in life there is nothing for free anymore and we have to seriously consider this moving forward.’


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Leinster Championship: On May 11 the Leinster Championships took place at Donabate, Co. Dublin. Seventeen bands competed including six NI Branch bands. It was anticipated that more NI bands would have entered considering that the UK Championship was taking place in Bangor the following Saturday. Really hot conditions on the day. Jnr. D/Ms: 1 J Turkington 2 WR Elliot 3 C Adamson. Juv.: 1 L Anderson 2 M Buckley 3 L Smiton. Snr.: 1 E Barr 2 C Ruddock.

4B: 1 Black Raven [also Best Drums] 2 Killeshin 3 Altnaveigh Mem. 4A: 1 William Kerr Mem. [also Best Drums] 2 Raphoe Ulster Scots 3 New Ross. 3A: 1 Maj. Sinclair Mem. [also Best Drums]. G2: 1 St Joseph’s Clondalkin [also Best Drums] 2 Manorcunningham. G1 Medley 1: 1 St. Laurence O’Toole [also Best Drums], 2 Closkelt; Medley 2: 1 SLOT [also Best Drums], 2 Closkelt. 

St Laurence [pictured top] were widely agreed to have been on top form at Leinster and indeed went on to win the UKs at Bangor the following week. Watch their performance here:

East of Ireland: IPBA Secretary Johnny Sheehan contacted me recently regarding the East of Ireland Championships at Howth on Sunday, June 30. This competition, as Johnny puts it, is the final ‘shake down’ for IPBA bands prior to the All-Irelands, although NI Branch bands will be competing at Antrim & Newtownabbey on Saturday the 29th. Amongst the bands at Howth will be the North Texas Caledonian P&D who have already had their entry confirmed. Many will be familiar this band’s P/M Don Shannon. Don led Syerla with considerable success in years gone by. I imagine that they will also be competing at the All-Irelands the following week. The closing date for Howth entries is 21st June.

10th Bangor Old Boys Band: Last month I reported that the band were preparing to travel to Edinburgh for the annual Boys’ Brigade ‘Beating of the Retreat’ on May 4th. I must thank P/M Scott Williamson, for sending me the following: ‘The weekend proved to be a great success. On the Saturday evening, and with the gathering crowd’s cameras clicking and videos rolling, we formed up alongside the Edinburgh and Leith’s Battalions’ Central Silver Band in Parliament Square before making our way to Edinburgh Castle.

’10th Bangor then paraded along the Royal Mile – for some the highlight of the evening – before entering the Castle for the Retreat.

10th Bangor at the Castle

‘At the foot of the drawbridge our buglers started with a fanfare before the massed band emerged on to the esplanade to the Green Hills and When the Battle’s O’er. We formed a circle for a 6/8 march, strathspey, reel, slow air and two jigs. 10th Bangor then broke off to perform a mixture of bugle, bell-lyre and pipe tunes. Marching off to ‘Killaloe’ is always a favourite to player and spectator alike, with the massed band joining us in the traditional ‘yyyeeeooowww‘ at the end of the third part.

‘Following the Central Band’s own set, we came together for Highland Cathedral, Ripton and Sunset, culminating in the Drum Major receiving permission for the March Past to Scotland the Brave and Highland Laddie. A very proud day for 10th Bangor and a huge thanks to the players, guests and supporters who travelled across to watch us play and to those who contributed towards funding, transport, accommodation and equipment.’


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