Big thank you from

Sun arrives in time to hail Ballycoan's triumph 

Pipe Bands by Mervyn McConnell

THE County Down section of the RSPBA held their annual pipe band and drum majors competition last Saturday in Banbridge.

Although the day started off rainy, the sun came out in splendour at 12 o'clock, right on cue for the start of the championships.

Although the organisers intended the day to be a fun day out for all the family, the serious business was, as usual, the pipe band and drum majors contest.

Ballycoan Pipe Band, under the direction of Pipe Major Alfie Rea, retained the Grade 1 championship title won last year. They took 1st in the MSR and 1st in the Medley as well as 1st in the drumming, to claim the overall title in style.

Cullybackey, who were runners up last year, went one better this time, and took the 1st place prize in Grade 2. This is the band's first victory this season. Newly promoted this season was Quinn Memorial and they had their first taste of success in Grade 3A when they secured top placing. Best drums went to the host band Banbridge.

In Grade 3B Seven Towers continued their successful season of victories when they took the first place prize. Altnaveigh won best drums and the best bass section.

There were also two new names on the winning trophies in Grade 4 when Annsborough won 4A and McNeillstown Grade 4B.

The drumming titles were won by Castlerock in 4A and Letterkenny & District in 4B.

The Co. Down champion drum majors were Ian Young (Senior); Ryan Ferry (Juvenile); Elizabeth Sloan (junior) and Kiera Wilson (novice). Banbridge District Council is delighted to host next year's European Pipe Band Championships.

After a very successful British Championship was held in the town in 2001 the organisers - The Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association - were so impressed with the organisation and facilities of that event they recommended Banbridge for the Europeans. The final event before the break for the July holidays will be the All Ireland Pipe band championships, which will take place in Letterkenny, Co. Donegal, on 3rd July where a total of 71 bands have entered.

The adjudicators for this event will be Jim Campbell, Ian Roddick, Winston Pollock, Ian Wood for piping and for drumming Jim Hutton, Gordon Parkes and ensemble David Clarke and Ciaran Mordaunt.

There will be a two-week break before the second half of the season gets under way with the North
Down Championships, which take place in Bangor Co. Down on Saturday 24th July.


Grade 1. 1st.Ballycoan (also best drums). 2nd Ravara. 3rd Bleary (also best bass and M&D).

Grade 2. 1st Cullybackey (also M&D). 2nd Ballinderry Bridge (also best bass and best drums). 3rd Upper Crossgare. 4th Syerla.

Grade 3A. 1st Quinn Memorial. 2nd Finvoy. 3rd Banbridge (also best drums). 4th Woodgrange. Best Bass section - Bready Ulster Scots.

Grade 3B. 1st Seven Towers (also M&D). 2nd Altnaveigh memorial (also best bass and best drums). 3rd Marlacoo.

Grade 3A. 1st Annsborough. 2nd Battlehill. 3rd St. Laurence Howth. 4th Sgt Walker Memorial. Best Drums - Castlerock. Best bass section - Gransha. Grade 4B. 1st McNeillstown. 2nd Cullybackey. 3rd Letterkenny (also best drums). 4th Antrim. Best Bass section- BreadyJunior.

Senior Drum Majors. 1st Ian Young. 2nd Paula Braiden. 3rd David Brownlee. 4th Brian Wilson. 5th Kathy Megarry.

Juvenile. 1st Ryan Ferry. 2nd Ian Scott. 3rd Alicia Dickson. 4th Teresa McCartan. 5th Victoria Singer.

Junior. 1st Elizabeth Sloan. 2nd Emma Chambers. 3rd Laura Jane Lawson. 4th Simon Kerr. 5th Caroline Clydesdale.

Novice. Ist Kiera Wilson. 2nd Craig Clydesdale. 3rd Natasha Cherry. 4th Lorna Robinson. 5th Dale Fisher.

Ulster Star