THE Mid-Ulster Section of The Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association Northern Ireland Branch held a very successful Mid-Ulster Championships for pipe bands and drum majors last Saturday.
The venue was Cookstown High School Sports Arena, Coolnafranky Demesne, Molesworth Street, Cookstown.
Sunshine for most of the day greeted competitors and spectators alike, just what the officers of the Mid-Ulster Section had ordered.
Forty-three bands and forty-three drum majors had entered for the event, which is one of the most popular competitions on the pipe band calendar in Northern Ireland.
Saturday’s contest received the biggest entry for any competition in Northern Ireland so far during this competing season.
The official charity collection at the contest was in aid of Parkinson’s Disease United Kingdom.
A total of twelve adjudicators were used for the six grades of pipe bands and four sections of drum majors.
Piping: Richard Parkes M.B.E. (Comber), John McCarlie (Penicuik), Harry Stevenson (Belfast) and William Garrett (Dromore, County Down).
Drumming: Sandy Steele (Dromore, County Down) and Harry Russell (Comber).
Ensemble: James Campbell (Aberdeen) and Ciaran Mordaunt (Dublin).
Marching and deportment: Colin Turtle (Broughshane) and Robert McCamley (Donaghcloney).
Drum majors: Roger Young (Richhill) and Kathryn Calvin (Dromore, County Down).
The directors from The Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association were Kenny Crothers (Lisburn), Arlene Faulkner (Antrim) and Lorraine Ronaldson (Bangor).
The grand finale commenced at 4.30 p.m. and the centre bands for the march past were: The Police Service of Northern Ireland, Ravara, Closkelt and Colmcille.
The senior drum major in charge of the march past was Lauren Hanna (Hillsborough), a member of Lomond and Clyde.
Trevor Wilson, chairman of the Mid-Ulster Section, officially introduced Robert Kirkland (Dungannon), the ‘Chieftain of the Day’, to the gathering.
Robert, who is a well known figure in the pipe band family, is the pipe major of William Kerr Memorial. His band was competing in Grade 4B and finished in third place winning The Cahoon Perpetual Trophy.
The chieftain started piping at the age of eleven and this is his sixtieth year playing in pipe bands.
He gave his address to all the officials, competing bands and drum majors.
Robert finished by thanking the Mid-Ulster Section for bestowing this honour on him.
During the finale, Marc Warnock (Cookstown), a member of Tullylagan, played a lament in memory of all those in the Mid-Ulster Section area, who had passed away during the last year.
A new perpetual trophy was handed over to the Mid-Ulster Section by the Crooks family in memory of Alex, who had passed away last year.
Alex had been a committee member, auditor, vice-chairman, chairman and vice-president of the Mid-Ulster Section.
George Crooks, a son of Alex, presented the Alex Crooks (Coagh) Memorial Trophy to president Sam Glasgow M.B.E., who gratefully accepted the trophy on behalf of the Mid-Ulster Section.
The trophy was awarded to the second place band in Grade 3B and it was very fitting that it was won by a Mid-Ulster Section band, namely Tullylagan (under pipe major, Stephen Swaile).
There was also a framed sash handed over to the Mid-Ulster Section by Paula Braiden-Monahan. This was on behalf of Eddie Ewing, who originated from Castledawson, County Londonderry, but is now living in New Zealand.
His wish for the sash, which contains Eddie’s awards, New Zealand gold medals and badges of honour for lost friends, is to share it with the Mid-Ulster Section to mark the achievement of a young person in their love for their hobby and to learn of his story.
Eddie won the New Zealand Championships at his first attempt in 2001 and continued his winning ways in 2002, 2003 and 2004. This record of four wins in a row remains unequalled now in 2019.
The sash was awarded to the winner of the juvenile drum major section along with the traditional trophy of the Stephen Scanlon Memorial Cup.
The first recipient of the award was Rachel Lowry, Armaghbreague.
The full results of the 2019 Mid-Ulster Championships were announced by the contest secretary, Dessie McLaughlin.
Drum majors. Novice. First: Carys Graham, Glasgow Skye Association; second: Mia Buckley, Joseph Forde Memorial; third: Jorja Turkington, Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association; fourth: Harry Mills, Syerla and District; fifth: Christie Steele, Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association.
Junior. First: Louis Anderson, New Ross and District; second: Benjamin Walker, Battlehill; third: Jamie-Lee Wilson, Joseph Forde Memorial; fourth: Leanne Crooks, Syerla and District; fifth: Lee Nicholl, Clontibret.
Juvenile. First: Rachel Lowry, Armaghbreague; second: Kathryn McKeown, Battlehill; third: Kathy Hunter, Manorcunningham; fourth: Jamie Cupples, MacKenzie Caledonian; fifth: Lucas Adamson, Sergeant Walker Memorial.
Adult. First: David Brownlee, Derryclavin; second: Andrea McKeown, Battlehill; third: Jason Price, Ravara; fourth: Emma Barr, Field Marshal Montgomery; fifth: Lauren Hanna, Lomond and Clyde.
Pipe bands. Grade 4B. First: Broughshane and District; second: Mountjoy; third: William Kerr Memorial; fourth: Altnaveigh Memorial; best piping: Mountjoy; best drumming: Broughshane and District; best bass section: Ballyboley; marching and deportment: Broughshane and District.
Grade 4A. First: Augharan; second: Kildoag; third: Cloughfin; fourth: McDonald Memorial; best piping: Augharan; Kildoag; best drumming: Gransha; best bass section: Gransha; marching and deportment: Cullybackey.
Grade 3B. First: McNeillstown; second: Tullylagan; third: Major Sinclair Memorial; fourth: Cleland Memorial; best piping: McNeillstown; best drumming: McNeillstown; best bass section: Tullylagan; marching and deportment: Major Sinclair Memorial.
Grade 3A. First: Quinn Memorial; second: Clogher and District; third: Thiepval Memorial; fourth: Matt Boyd Memorial; best piping: Quinn Memorial; best drumming: Quinn Memorial; best bass section: Quinn Memorial; marching and deportment: Matt Boyd Memorial.
Grade 2. First: New Ross and District; second: Closkelt; third: Ravara; fourth: Colmcille; best piping: Closkelt; best drumming: New Ross and District; best bass section: New Ross and District; marching and deportment: Ravara.
Grade 1. First: Police Service of Northern Ireland; second: Closkelt; best piping: Police Service of Northern Ireland and Closkelt; best drumming: Police Service of Northern Ireland; best bass section: Police Service of Northern Ireland; marching and deportment: Police Service of Northern Ireland.
All the prizes were presented by Bertha Kirkland (Dungannon), wife of the ‘Chieftain of the Day’.
Sam Glasgow (Cookstown) M.B.E., president of the Mid-Ulster Section, presented Robert Kirkland, with a memento of the occasion.
Sam also presented Bertha Kirkland with a bouquet of flowers from the Section.
Ravara (under pipe major, Samuel Connolly), played the ‘National Anthem’ at the conclusion of the prize-giving ceremony.
An official reception was held at 7.00 p.m., in the Royal Hotel, Cookstown, for all the officials involved in the Mid-Ulster Championships.
The next contest in Northern Ireland, will be the Belfast City Championships, which will be held on Saturday, 8th June, at Stormont Pavilion, Belfast.
Photos, Pages 16 & 17