Sun shines down for 33rd County Antrim championships

Pipe Bands by Mervyn McConnell

THE 33rd County Antrim Pipe Band and Drum Major Championships were held last Saturday in Ballymena Showgrounds.

It was a sun-drenched afternoon, which attracted large crowds to hear the music of the bagpipes and enjoy the spectacle of the massed bands and drum majors at the finale.

It was a good result for Ballycoan Pipe Band with Pipe Major Alfie Rea who led his band to victory in both piping and drumming in Grade 1.

Paula Braiden who plays under the Ballycoan banner won first place in the senior drum major section.

Dromara, under the leadership of Pipe Major Ricky Newell, secured their first win of the season when they claimed first place in Grade 4A.
Drumlough won the trophy for best pipes and took fourth place in this grade.

The other main prize winners were Killadeas in 4B, Cottown in 3B, Battlehill in 3A and Cullybackey in Grade 2.

Chieftain of the Day was Tommy Nichol' MBE Mayor of Ballymena who welcomed everyone to the event.

Bringing a touch of excitement at the end of the competition was the Wild Geese Skydive Centre who performed a parachute drop into the main arena of Ballymena Showgrounds.

This Saturday, June 10, the Mid Ulster Championships will take place at 12 noon at Coolnafranky Demese, Cookstown High School with the Drum Major dress at 12 noon as well.

The total hands entered are 48 with 11 bands in 4B, 15 in 4A, 7 in 3B, 6 in 3A, 5 in 2 and 4 bands . in Grade 1.

Adjudicators for this event will be John Nevans, Ian Wood, Trevor Dear, Denver Cardwell for piping, Gordon Parkes, William Dunlop for drumming and Joe Noble and David Clarke for Ensemble. Alastair Patterson and Roger Young will judge the drum majors and J. Watson and Arlene Callaghan the Marching and Deportment section.

Banbridge is the venue for the Co. Down Championships, which will be held on Saturday June 17 commencing at 12 noon. Then on Saturday June 24 the second of this year's five major championships will take place with the British Championships at Pitlochry, Scotland.

The Competing Soloist Organisation in association with Glenarm Castle Highland Games has announced a solo piping competition on Thursday July 13 starting at 10.00am.

There will also be an Open Jig (at least 4 parts) competition for pipers in the Juvenile under 12 and Juvenile over 12 and under 15 grades.

Then on Friday July 14 the Juvenile competition for drumming only for the under 12 and Juvenile over 12 and under 15 will take place.

There will be both piping and drumming competitions for Juvenile over 15 and under 18, Junior and Intermediate grades.

The event kicks off again at 10.00am and everyone is advised to allow plenty of time


Novice Drum Majors  

1st. Lauren Abraham. 2nd. Lauren Hanna. 3rd. Bethan Martin. 4th. Dionne Woods.


1st. Linzi Hamilton. 2nd. Craig Clydesdale. 3rd. Samantha Gordon. 4th. Kiera Wilson. 5th. Dale Fisher. 6th. Lorna Robinson.


1st. Donna Gillespie. 2nd. Ryan Ferry. 3rd. Caroline Clydesdale. 4th. Emma Chambers. 5th. Gemma McKinney. 6th. Jemma Clydesdale.


1st. Paula Braiden. 2nd. Kathy Megarry. 3rd. Ian Young. 4th. Brian Wilson. 5th. Alastair Patterson.

Grade 4B  

1st. Killadeas (also M&D and Joint Best pipes) 2nd. Saintfield. 3rd. Rasharkin (also best drums and best bass section). 4th. Antrim (joint best pipes)

Grade 4A  

1st. Dromara. 2nd. Raffrey. 3rd. Cullenfad. 4th. Drumlough (also M&D, and best pipes. McNeillstown won best drums and Cullybackey best bass section.

Grade 3B  

1st. Cottown (best pipes and best bass section) 2nd. Aughintober. 3rd. Killen. 4th. Gortaclare (best drums)

Grade 3A  

1st. Battlehill (also joint best pipes) 2nd. Annsborough (joint best pipes and best drums). 3rd. Banbridge. 4th. Tullintrain. Tamlaght O'Crilly best bass section

Grade 2  

1st. Cullybackey (best drums and best bass section) 2nd. Seven Towers (also best pipes) 3rd. Upper Crossgare. 4th. Ravara. Cullybackey best drums and best bass section.

Grade 1 

1st. Ballycoan (also Best pipes best drums and best bass section) 2nd. Ballinderry Bridge. 3rd. Bleary & District.

Ulster Star