Big thank you from

There's no stopping the magnificent Field Marshall 

Pipe Bands by Mervyn McConnell

FIELD Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band under Pipe Major Richard Parkes and Leading Tip Keith Orr were at their brilliant best in the elite Grade 1 last Saturday at the European Championships when they took two firsts in piping, first in ensemble and first in drumming to lift the title.

This is their second victory in the major championships so far this season and if they maintain this sort of form, then there is no one who can equal let alone surpass them.

George Ussher President of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association and Chairman of the Northern Ireland Branch welcomed bands people and their supporters to Banbridge for the Championships.

George said: "We are delighted to present one of the most spectacular gatherings of cultural music and dancing to be seen and heard anywhere in the world. Over three thousand five hundred musicians and dancers will be performing in the various grades for the title of European Champions.

"At the completion of the competition all the 139 pipe bands will march onto the arena and play together as a massed band. A sound not to be missed and one that will leave the sound of the great highland bagpipe ringing in your ears for some time."

Bands came from Belgium, New Zealand, Scotland, England, Wales and from Northern and Southern Ireland to enjoy not only the hospitality of Banbridge town, but to claim the European Championship titles.

Strathclyde Police, who have some Ulster players in their ranks including Leading Tip Eric Ward from Banbridge, finished in runner up place in Grade 1 with Shotts & Dykehead third, Scottish Power fourth, Boghall & Bathgate fifth and St. Laurence O'Toole from Dublin in sixth place.

Local bands Ravara, with Pipe Major Sammy Connolly, came fourth in Grade 2 and Drumlough, with Pipe Major Nigel Burrows, won fifth place in Grade 4B.

It was a clean sweep of all the three top prizes in the drum majoring championships with Kathy Megarry from Upper Crossgare Pipe band winning the senior title, Elizabeth Sloan from Lisburn and who plays with Marlacoo Pipe band winning the Juvenile title, and Linzi Hamilton from Killeen Pipe band taking the top prize in the junior section.

Other Ulster bands to take a prize at the European Championships were Seven Towers who came first in Grade 3A with Marlacoo third and winners of the best drum corps award.

Annsborough won 3B and the European trophy for best drums. They were followed by Battlehill in second place and Hollymount in third.

There were three winners in Grade 4A. Aughintober won third place and McNeillstown fifth, tying on points but getting the verdict on ensemble preference over Castlerock who took the final sixth placing. Colmille, although not in the first six places, won the trophy for best drums in this grade.

Northern Ireland bands won five out of the six places in 413, which was won by the Welsh Piping Society. Thomas Davis was second, Cullybackey third, Raffrey fourth, Drumlough fifth and Cleland Memorial sixth.

The final event before the holiday break will be the 60th All Ireland Pipe Band Championships taking place in the beautiful setting of Donard Park, Newcastle on Saturday 2nd July commencing at 11am.

There is a record number of 80 bands from all over Ireland competing at this competition and the BBC will be recording the event
for broadcasting later in the year.


Grade 4B - 1st Welsh Piping Society (Plus best drums). 2nd Thomas Davis Memorial. 3rd Cullybackey. 4th Raffrey. 5th Drumlough. 6th Cleland Memorial.
4A - 1st Cumnock & District. 2nd Letterkenny & District. 3rd Aughintober. 4th Milgavie. 5th McNeillstown. 6th Castlerock. Best Drums Colmcille.
Grade 3B - 1st Annsborough (also best drums). 2nd Battlehill. 3rd Hollymount. 4th Beeston & District. 5th Dunoon Argyll. 6th Williamwood.
Grade 3A - 1st Seven Towers. 2nd Coalburn. 3rd Marlacoo (Also best drums). 4th Antwerp Belgium) 5th Strathclyde Fire Brigade. 6th Denny & Dunipace.
Grade 2 - 1st Drambuie Kirkliston. 2nd Tayside Police 3rd Bucksburn & District. 4th Ravara. 5th 52nd Lowland Regiment. 6th Buchan (also best drums)
Grade 1 - 1st Field Marshal Montgomery (also best drums). 2nd Strathclyde Police. 3rd The House of Edgar-Shotts. 4th Scottish Power. 5th Boghall & Bathgate. 6th St. Laurence O'Toole.
Senior Drum Majors - 1st Kathy Megarry. 2nd Alastair Patterson. 3rd Brian Wilson. 4th D. Brownlee. 5th WJordan.
Juvenile - 1st Elizabeth Sloan. 2nd Ryan Ferry. 3rd A. Morton. 4th D. Gillespie. 5th A. Dickson.
Junior - 1st Linzi Hamilton. 2nd A. Symon. 3rd I. Burns. 4th S. Kerr. 5th S. Martin

Ulster Star