THE third annual 'Young Player of the Year' solo piping competitions took place last Friday in the club rooms of Dungannon Swifts Football Club at Strangmore Park.
The audience witnessed an evening of very competitive piping by some of Ireland's finest young solo players. The soloists in each of the two age groups - under 15 years and over 15 - and under 18 years - really excelled. Guest adjudicator Alastair Dunn from Glasgow commented that he was very impressed with the playing standard achieved by competitors in both age groups.
Alastair is one of the country's top soloists with numerous accolades including Silver and Gold medals from the prestigious Northern Meeting to his credit. He entertained the crowd with a variety of terrific pipe music before presenting the perpetual trophies, replicas and additional awards to the prize winners.
As well as being supported by Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council and Dungannon Swifts Football Club, the competitions were further supported by donors of additional prizes and ballot prizes. In recognition of this support, the Competing Soloists' Organisation records their sincere thanks and also to any others who helped in any way to make the evening such tremendous success.
Results - 'Best Dressed' Soloist - Scott Barr from Ballygowan.
Under 15 years - 1st. Robert Green (Dromore). 2nd. Ross Hume (Antrim). 3rd. Neil Badger (Tobermore). 4th. Scott Barr (Ballygowan)
Over 15 - under 18 years - 1st. David Stone. (Waterford City). 2nd. Laura Lawson. (Armagh). 3rd. Emmett Conway (Cookstown). 4th. Sean Maher (Dublin).
Young Player of the Year was won by David Stone from Waterford City.
The next competition will be the All Ireland solos on Saturday September 15 in Dublin.
There was a good turnout of supporters at the 'Gig 'n The Bann' pipe band competition at Portglenone last weekend. In Section A Seven Towers won first place followed by Raffrey and Drumlough. In Section B Raffrey was first with Drumlough runner up and McNeillstown in third. In Section C Cullybackey took top place with Gransha second. Cleland Memorial third and Tamlaght O'Crilly fourth. In Section D Moneygore were first, Upper Crossgare second, Tamlaght O'Crilly third and Dr. Wright Memorial in fourth.
Tamlaght O'Crilly, in their first competition this year under Pipe Major Gary Dempsey, had a successful day winning two prizes in both their grades. With a good winter's practise the band hope to be ready to compete in the 2008 season in all local competitions.
It was also a good day for Raffrey Pipe Band with Pipe Major Francis Strain who won section B and were runners up in section A.
The adjudicators for this competition were Andrew Carlisle, Harold Brownlee, William Garrett and Richard Coffey Jr. The television times for broadcasting this year's All Ireland Pipe Band Championships. which took place at Newcastle on July 7, will be Monday 24th and Tuesday 25th September at 10.35pm both on BBC1.
St. Laurence O'Toole, for only the second time in their band's history, won the coveted Grade 1 All Ireland title at this event defeating the reigning All Ireland six times champions - Field Marshal Montgomery. These broadcasts are certain to attract a lot of interest so make sure you mark the dates in your diary.
The last two Branch meetings of this year will be on Saturday September 29 and Saturday October 27 with the Annual General Meeting taking place on Saturday November 10. All these events will be held at the temporary venue of Trinity Methodist Church Hall, Knockmore Road, Lisburn.