Field Marshal Montgomery continue winning streak 

Pipe Bands by Mervyn McConnell

THE 9th Annual Malahide Festival of Piping and Drumming was held last Saturday on a bitterly cold day at Malahide Castle, Co. Dublin.

Forty-five bands from both the North and South of Ireland competed for the top trophies in the five grades, as well as for the lucrative prize money.

Field Marshal Montgomery continued their winning domination of Grade 1 at the Malahide Festival when they won the title again for the ninth time in succession under Pipe Major Richard Parkes.

In Grade 2 it was a great victory for Killeen Pipe Band with Pipe Major Philip Boyce when they claimed the first place prize in their grade.

Killadeas was the only other Ulster band to win a title and that was in Grade 4B with Pipe Major M. Dunlop. This was the first time this band has competed with their new Pipe Major and they must be delighted with such a great start to the season.

St. Laurence Howth and Arklow were the two southern bands to take a title and they won Grade 4A and Grade 3.

It is interesting to note that no bands won the double with St. Laurence O'Toole in Grade 1; Cullybackey in Grade 2; Gortacale in Grade 3; Marble City in 4A and Rasharkin in 4B winning the best drums awards.

The festival has gone from strength to strength over the years and this year for the first time in their history they played host to the three chairmen of the pipe band movement - Kevin Reilly from the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association, George Ussher Chairman of the Northern Ireland branch of the RSPBA and Ciaran Mordaunt chairman of the Irish Pipe Band Association.

George, who is also President of the RSPBA, was the Chieftain of the Day and offered his praise and thanks to the Malahide Festival committee for all their excellent work in organising a very successful week end of piping and drumming.

The special President's award was given to Norman Dodds, who as a young man had won all the major titles in Ireland at Juvenile and senior level. Norman is a legend in the pipe band world and as a tutor has taught numerous well-known and successful pipers.

Several people from the Belvoir Parish Drum Majors were invited by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Peter Hain MP to attend a Garden Party, which took place on Monday May 15 in Hillsborough Castle. Ronnie Davidson, secretary for over 20 years, the present instructor Kathleen Smyth and Roy and Olive Dobson were introduced to a member of the Royal family in recognition of their work among the boys and girls in the Belvoir drum majors class.

Unfortunately Ronnie's wife Beth was unable to attend owing to illness.

This Saturday the first of the 2006 major pipe band championships will take place at Levengrove Park, Dumbarton Scotland with the Scottish Championships.

The Co. Fermanagh Festival of Piping and Drumming will be held at Celtic Park Enniskillen on Saturday May 27 and will be the first of the outdoor events in Northern Ireland.

Forty-one bands have entered including Ballycoan and Ballinderry Bridge in Grade 1. Adjudicators for Enniskillen will be Denver Cardwell John Wilson, Ian Wood, Richard and Gordon Parkes, Colin Moffett, Billy Dunlop and Ciaran Mordaunt.

Grade 4B

Ist. Killadeas. 2nd. Rasharkin(also best drums) 3rd. Wm. Kerr Memorial.

Grade 4A

1st. St.Laurence Howth. 2nd. Matt Boyd. 3rd. McNeillstown. Best drums Marble City.

Grade 3

1st. Arklow. 2nd. Annsborough. 3rd Battlehill. Best Drums Gortaclare.

Grade 2

1st. Killeen. 2nd . Cullybackey (also best drums). 3rd. Seven Towers.

Grade 1

1st. Field Marshal Montgomery. 2nd. St.Laurence (also best drums) 3rd. Ballinderry Bridge.

Novice Drum Majors

1st. Lauren Abraham. 2nd. Lauren Hanna. 3rd. Emma Barr.


1st. Linzi Hamilton. 2nd. Lorna Robinson. 3rd. Samantha Gordon.


1st. Ryan Ferry. 2nd. Donna Gillespie. 3rd. Caroline Clydesdale.


1st. Paula Braiden. 2nd. Andrea McKeown. 3rd. Alicia Dickson.

Ulster Star