THE 60th All Ireland Pipe Band Championships were held last Saturday in the magnificent setting of Newcastle, nestling at the foot of the Mourne Mountains.
And it was Field Marshal Montgomery who won the Grade 1 title for an amazing 16th time.
The Lisburn based band collected no fewer than seven trophies winning 1st in the MSR, 1st in the Medley selection, 1st overall, 1st in best piping, 1st in best drums, 1st in best bass section and 1st in Marching & Deportment.
Congratulations to Pipe Major Richard Parkes and Leading Tip Keith Orr on this magnificent achievement.
The only other Ulster band to get a large number of wins at the senior level in Grade 1 was the now defunct Robert Armstrong Memorial under the late Pipe Major Tommy Geddis with a total of nine wins to their credit.
They won the title for the first time in 1966 and the final time in 1977. It was to be some 12 years before the Field Marshal commenced their winning streak and except for one year, in 2000 when Scottish Power took the title out of Ireland, they have remained consistent winners at the top of the All Ireland leader board.
The weather was perfect as thousands of pipe band enthusiast the North and the South of Ireland and indeed further afield, gathered together to hear the cream of Ireland's best.
Welcoming everyone to Donard Park, the President of the Northern Ireland Branch of the RSPBA, Mr Ronnie Crawford, extended a special welcome to the friends and colleagues from the Irish Pipe Band Association.
He said: "It is that friendship and sense of camaraderie between us, which has enabled these championships to continue for so long. I would also pay tribute to all those bands men and women who have played their part in the on going success of these championships over the past 60 years.
"A large part of our following is comprised of many who have given devoted years of service to the Pipe Band movement on both sides of the border, and to them I say a very big 'well done'.
Grade 2 had a new winner's name on the All Ireland trophy when Killeen from Co. Armagh took the top placing. Cullybackey took the drumming championships trophy in this grade.
Seven Towers continued their winning form when they won
1st in Grade 3A, with Banbridge getting the victory with best
Annsborough won the top placing in Grade 3B with Battlehill winning best drums.
There were new winners in Grade 4A with Castlerock taking 1st place in piping and drumming, and new winners in Grade 4B when the Dr. Wright Memorial won 1st place and local band Drumlough taking the prize for best drums with Leading Tip William O'Brien.
Dromara girl Kathy Megarry, from Upper Crossgare Pipe Band, is having a great season and again took the senior title in drum majoring.
Donna Gillespie won the juvenile title with Linzi Hamilton taking the junior title and Laura Muldrew winning the novice juvenile trophy.
There will be a break of two weeks for the holidays in the middle of July with no competitions scheduled for the 9th and the 16th, but they will commence again on the 23rd July with the North Down championships held at the Castle Grounds, Bangor.
Saturday 30th July will see the third of the major events with the British Championships in Tain, Aberdeen when some of our bands will travel over to compete.
|Grade 1. 1st Field Marshal Montgomery (also best pipes, best drums, best bass section and M&D) 2nd St Laurence O'Toole (2nd in best drums) 3rd Ballycoan. 4th Ballinderry Bridge.|
|Grade 2. 1st Killeen (Tie on best pipes) 2nd Eden (tie on best pipes). 3rd Upper Crossgare. 4th Ravara (also best bass and M&D). Cullybackey best drum corps.|
|Grade 3A. 1st Seven Towers (also best pipes) 2nd Marlacoo (best bass and M&D) 3rd Arklow. 4th Banbridge (also best drums)|
|Grade 3B. 1st Annsborough (also best pipes) 2nd Battlehill (also best drums). 3rd StPatrick's Bandon (also best bass section) 4th Killen. Augharonan M&D.|
|Grade 4A. 1st Castlerock (also best drums). 2nd Aughintober. 3rd StLaurence Howth (also best bass) 4th McNeillstown. Letterkenny M&D.|
|Grade 4B. 1st Dr. Wright Memorial. 2nd Drumlough (also best Drums). 3rd Thomas David Memorial. 4th Antrim. Best Bass section Naomh Fhionain. Derryclavin M&D.|
|Novice Juvenile. 1st Lauren Muldrew. 2nd Kiera Wilson. 3rd Dale Fisher. 4th Laura Abraham.|
|Junior. 1st Linzi Hamilton. 2nd Simon Kerr. 3rd Samantha Gordon. 4th. Caroline Clydesdale. 5th Craig Clydesdale.|
|Juvenile. 1st Donna Gillespie. 2nd Ryan Ferry. 3rd Elizabeth Sloan. 4th Alicia Dickson. 5th Jemma Clydesdale.|
|Senior. 1st Kathy Megarry. 2nd David Brownlee. 3rd Ian Young. 4th Alastair Patterson. 5th Paula Braiden.|