Big thank you from

Clean Sweep for Field Marshall Montgomery  

Pipe Bands by Mervyn McConnell

THE 57th All Ireland Pipe band Championships were held last Saturday in the beautiful historic grounds of Kilkenny Castle and brought crowds of visitors and supporters from many parts of Ireland to the town.

This competition is the biggest event organised jointly by the Northern Ireland Branch of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association and the Irish Pipe Band Association.

It was a clean sweep in all six grades for the Ulster bands with Field Marshal Montgomery under Pipe Major Richard Parkes and Leading Tip Andrew Scullion claiming the title for the thirteen time in Grade l. They won 1st in the MSR and 1st in the Medley to win the overall title. According to the adjudicators, Field Marshal were outstanding and in a class of their own. Their next appearance will at the British Championships in Ayr on July 27 where they will be hot favourites to take their second major title having recently won the European title in Belfast.

St .Laurence O'Toole were runners up and winners of the best drum corps, Scottish Power, the 2000 winners, were in 3rd place with Ravara in fourth place. Unbeaten so far this season in all the majors and local championships, Ballycoan again claimed victory in the All Ireland Grade 2, and are one step closer to winning promotion to the elite Grade l.

Under their Pipe Major Alfie Rea and Leading Tip Barnet' Megoran the band have won the Co. Fermanagh, Co. Antrim, Mid Ulster, Co. Down, Scottish and European Championships. Cullybackey under Leading Tip Adrian Hoy won the All Ireland best drum corps in Grade 2.

Grade 3A Banbridge Pipe band under Pipe Major Alan Gourley and Leading Tip Thomas Carey gave an outstanding performance in the MSR to lift the All Ireland title in piping drumming and best. bass section. This has been a long awaited for victory for the band and must give them a lot of encouragement as they prepare for the world championships in August.

Finvoy Pipe band with Pipe Major Chris Getty continue to dominate Grade 3B. Their outstanding piping performance gave them the victory of the All Ireland title to add to their growing collection of trophies. Bready were runners up and winners of the best drum corps.

European champions Altnaveigh Memorial under the direction of Pipe Major David Hanna and Leading Tip Richard Coffey were the All Ireland Champions in Grade 4 in both piping and drumming. This band has been consistently in the prizes this season and is tipped to be one of the favourites to win the world championships in Glasgow.

Gransha from outside Dromore Co. Down also lifted the all Ireland title in both piping and drumming in Grade 5. This has been a terrific year for Pipe Major Worthing Anderson and Leading Drummer Sammy Smyth, who have led their band to the top of their grade so far this season.

The second half of the season opens with the North Down Championships in Bangor on Saturday, July 20. There will be a special solo-piping event for boys and girls aged 14 and under at this competition with entries taken on the day, and Pipe Major Harry Stevenson from Belfast will be the adjudicator.

The final competition in July will be the British Championships, which will take place on July 27 in Ayr.

Grade l.  lst. Field Marshal Montgomery (also best bass) 2nd. St.Laurence O'Toole (also best drums) 3rd.Scottish Power. 4th Ravara.
Grade 2 lst. Ballycoan (also best pipes) 2nd.St.Finbarr's. 3rd.Ballinderry Bridge. 4th.Bleary. Best Drums Cullybackey. Best Bass Tullylagan.
Grade 3A. Ist.Banbridge (also best drums and best bass). 2nd.Killadeas. 3rd.Lord Edwards Own. 4th. Tullintrain.
Grade 3B. 1st.Finvoy (also best bass). 2nd.Bready (also best drums) 3rd.Cullen. 4th.Newcastle West.
Grade 4. 1st.Altnaveigh (also best drums). 2nd.Annsborough (also best bass). 3rd.Gortaclare. 4th.St.Patricks Bandon
Grade 5. 1st.Gransha (also best drums). 2nd.Corpus Christi (also best bass). 3rd.St.Laurence Howth. 4th.Thomas Davies Memorial.

Ulster Star