THE 49th Annual Mid-Ulster Pipe Band and Drum Majors championships took place last Saturday in Cookstown High School Sports Arena.
It was a proud day for Chieftain of the Day Pipe Major Frank O'Neill. Frank has been involved in pipe bands for over half a century and has enjoyed every minute of it.
He said the honour of being invited to act as the Chieftain of the Day at Cookstown was one that will remain with him forever.
Secretary Gloria Patterson was delighted not only with the beautiful sunshine but with the 55 bands and 41 drum majors who took part in this, the longest running competition held in Ulster.
There were four bands in Grade 1 and the standard of playing was outstanding.
Field Marshal Montgomery dominated and won 1st place in piping,
drumming, and best bass and took
overall top place. St. Laurence O'Toole from Dublin were runner-ups, followed by Ravara and Ballycoan.
The winning bands in the other grades were - Bleary & District (Grade 2); Killadeas (Grade 3A); Quinn Memorial (Grade 3B); Aughintober (Grade 4A) and McNeillstown (Grade 413)
On Saturday 21 June the action moves to Pitlochry in Perthshire where this year's British Championships take place. This is the second of the five major competitions this year.
A total of 121 entries have been received which includes 13 from Ireland.
They are - Scottish champions Field Marshal Montgomery, St. Laurence O'Toole, Ravara and Ballycoan in Grade 1. In Grade 2 there are Bleary & District, Howard Memorial and Lord Edwards Own. Grade 3A is represented by Woodgrange; Quinn Memorial, Altnaveigh and Bready are in Grade 3B and finally Annsborough and Mountfield in Grade 4A.
The last of the section-organised events is the Co. Down, which will take place in Banbridge in the Academy Grounds of the High School on Saturday 28 June.
There is a massive entry of 52 pipe bands and 40 drum majors for this competition, which is under the direction of Contest Secretary Mervyn Herron and his team.
This will be a family day out and something has been organised for everyone.
The entertainment will include Highland dancing direct from the Edinburgh Tattoo, a craft display, falconry display with Eagles, face painting for children and a young drumming team from Rathfriland under the leadership of Roy Ferguson.
Adjudicators on the day will be Denver Cardwell, Gordon Craig, Ciaran Motdaunt and John Nevins.
Grade 4B. 1st McNeillstown (also best pipes and best drums) 2nd Queen Elizabeth. 3rd Manorcunningham. 4th Letterkenny & District. Best Bass Cleland Memorial
Grade 4A. 1st Aughintober. (Best drums) 2nd Seven Towers. 3rd Marlacoo. (Also best piping) 4th Mountfield. Best Bass Annsborough.
Grade 3B. 1st Quinn Memorial (also best pipes, best drums and best bass) 2nd Altnaveigh Memorial. 3rd Hollymount. 4th Augharonan.
Grade 3A. 1st Killadeas (also best pipes and best bass). 2nd Syerla (also best drums) 3rd North Belfast. 4th Finvoy.
Grade 2. 1st Bleary & District (also best pipes). 2nd Upper Crossgare. 3rd Ballinderry Bridge. 4th Cullybackey. (Also best drums and best bass)
Grade 1. 1st Field Marshal Montgomery (also best pipes, best drums and best bass) 2nd St.Laurence O'Toole. 3rd Ravara. 4th Ballycoan. Drum Majors. Senior. 1st Cathy Megarry. 2nd Brian Wilson. 3rd Alastair Patterson. 4th last Young. 5th Paula Braiden.
Juvenile. 1st Ian Scott. 2nd Donna Gillespie. 3rd Teresa McMechan. 4th Rachel Corr. 5th Danielle Sharvin.
Junior. 1st Laura McComb. 2nd Ryam Ferry. 3rd Laura J Lawson. 4th Elizabeth Sloan. 5th Joanne Wilson.
Novice Juvenile. 1st Linzi Hamilton.2nd Samantha Gordon. 3rd
Natasha Cherry. 4th Jonathan McKee. 5th Craig Clydesdale.