Mid-Ulster championships pay tribute to late Chairman 

Pipe Bands by Mervyn McConnell

THE 52nd Annual Mid-Ulster Pipe Band Championships took place last Saturday at Cookstown High School Sports Arena.

It was a day that the section remembered their late Chairman Bob Montgomery MBE who died at the end of last summer.

Bob was a well-known bass drummer and founder member of the section who gave 50 years of service to pipe bands especially in the Mid-Ulster area.

In his memory a trophy was presented by his son for the winner of the Grade 3B Best Bass section.

The winners of the competition were St.Laurence O'Toole Pipe Band from Dublin, who won Grade 1. Killeen in Grade 2, Battlehill in Grade 3A, Gortaclare won 3B, Raffrey won 4A and Killadeas took Grade 4B.

Mr Alex Young was Chieftain of The Day. In his message he paid tribute to all bands men and women for all their dedication, which produced such a magnificent spectacle of sight and sound. He fully understood the work and effort it took having been a piper himself for almost 60 years.

The Co. Down Pipe Band Championships will be held in Banbridge on Saturday June 17 starting at 12 noon.

There is a massive entry for this event with 55 bands and 40 drum majors competing for the winning titles. This event will be a worthwhile rehearsal for the second of this year's major championships, which will be the British and held at Pitlochry in Scotland on Saturday June 24.

Sam Hodgen proprietor of Andante Percussion from Ballyroney Banbridge will be Chieftain of the Day.

Andante are the sponsors of the world solo drumming championships, which will be held in Northern Ireland this year for the first time on October 28 at Monkstown Community Centre.

The 61st All Ireland Pipe Band and Drum Major Championships will be on Saturday July 1 in Letterkenny starting at 11am.

The University of Luton and the Strathclyde Police will be travelling over to compete in Grade 1 at these championships.

Field Marshal Montgomery, who have won this event for an amazing 16 times, will be there to defend their title.

In the last 17 years only one band took the trophy from them and that was Scottish Power in 2000. If you enjoy piping and would be interested in travelling over to Greenock for the European Championships on Saturday July 29 then Travel Solutions are putting on a special package for the event. The price for the day trip is £32 per person and includes return ferry, coach transfers and admission to the championships.

For more information the contact number is 08708 504519 or log unto www.travel-solutions.co.uk


Grade 1 - 1st. St. Laurence O'Toole (also best pipes, best drums and best bass section). 2nd. Ballinderry Bridge. 3rd. Ballycoan. 4th. Bleary (also M&D).

Grade 2 - 1st. Killeen. 2nd. Ravara (also M&D) 3rd. Cullybackey (also best drums and best bass). 4th .Seven Towers. Best Pipes shared be t w e e n Killeen/Ravara/Cullybackey.

Grade 3A - 1st. Battlehill (also best pipes and M&D). 2nd. Annsborough. 3rd. Banbridge (also best drums). 4th. Tamlaght O'Crilly (also best bass)

Grade 3B. 1st. Gortaclare (also best pipes, best drums and best bass). 2nd. Aughintober. 3rd. Cottown. 4th. Cullen. Ballydonaghy won M&D.

Grade 4A - 1st. Raffrey (also best pipes). 2nd. St. Laurence Howth (also best drums). 3rd. Drumlough. 4th. Dromara. Best Bass section won by McNeillstown. Marching & Deportment won by Matt Boyd Memorial.

Grade 4B - 1st. Killadeas (also best pipes). 2nd. Antrim. 3rd. Rasharkin. 4th. Irvine Memorial (also best drums and best bass). M&D won by Win. Kerr Memorial. Novice Drum Majors - 1st. Lauren Hanna. 2nd. Laura Abraham. 3rd.

Ulster Star