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Ulster Pipe Band Championships: dominant Cullybackey take title

Cullybackey's pipe sergeant Amos Gilmore, pipe major Glenn Cupples, drum major Zara Cupples, Cllr Chittick Omagh District Council, with drummers Chris Kerr and Sarah Gillespie

Cullybackey's pipe sergeant Amos Gilmore, pipe major Glenn Cupples, drum major Zara Cupples, Cllr Chittick Omagh District Council, with drummers Chris Kerr and Sarah Gillespie

Cullybackey claimed the grade one title at the Ulster Pipe Band Championships held at the Tyrone Farming Society Showgrounds in Omagh on Saturday.

The Co Antrim band dominated the grade taking first place in both the Medley and March, Strathspey and Reel sections and a clean sweep of the prizes for best pipes, drums and bass section. Second place in the grade went to Ravara.

Only two bands competed in grade one after the withdrawal of Field Marshal Montgomery.

Saturday’s much improved weather conditions came as a real boost to the pipe band fraternity after the previous weekend at Cookstown which was basically a battle against the wind and rain.

The showgrounds provided a good venue for the event which attracted an excellent turnout of bands, drum majors and spectators.

Back to the bands and in grade 2 Bleary & District are showing no signs of letting their progress slow as they swept the boards once again adding the Ulster title to their growing list of honours this season. Prizes for first overall, best pipes, drums and bass section all went home with pipe major Nigel Davison and his band.

Second place and best M&D in grade 2 went to Manorcunningham, with the PSNI third and Aughintober in fourth place.

Ballybriest claimed the title in grade 3a as well as prizes for best drum corps and bass section. Runners up for the second week running were Annsborough with Drumlough in third with Raffrey taking fourth. The prize for best pipes was shared between Ballybriest and Annsborough, while Raffrey won the M&D prize.

Another competition and yet more trophies for Thipeval Memorial in what has been a tremendous season for the band from Co Donegal. Saturday saw the band take first place overall in grade 3b along with silverware for best pipes, drums and bass section. Second place went to Matt Boyd Memorial with Upper Crossgare third and Colmcille in fourth place.

Closkelt look to be hitting a bit of form at just the right time in grade 4a. The Co Down band took first place for the second week running and won prizes for best drums and bass section.

Second place went to Cloughfin along with the prize for best pipes; Cullybackey were third and Marlacoo fourth. Best M&D went to Raphoe.

Derryclavin were the victors in grade 4b and collected prizes for best pipes and M&D. Runners up were Gorey with Portavogie, McDonald Memorial and Whitewater completing the top five. Prizes for best drum corps and bass section went to McDonald Memorial.

Ulster champion drum majors are Paula Braiden (Cullybackey), Emma Barr (PSNI), Zoe McDowell (Aughintober) and Jamie Cupples (Killeen).

All eyes now turn to Glasgow Green next weekend for the World Championships.

Grade 1: 1, Cullybackey, also first MSR and Medley selection, best pipes, drums, bass section and M&D; 2, Ravara.

Grade 2: 1, Bleary & District, also best pipes, drums and bass; 2, Manorcunningham, also M&D; 3, PSNI; 4, Aughintober.

Grade 3a: 1, Ballybriest, also best drums and bass section; 2, Annsborough; 3, Drumlough; 4, Raffrey, also M&D. Best pipes shared: Ballybriest and Annsborough.

Grade 3b: 1, Thiepval Memorial, also best pipes, drums, bass section and M&D; 2, Matt Boyd Memorial; 3, Upper Crossgare; 4, Colmcille.

Grade 4a: 1, Closkelt, also best drums and bass section; 2, Cloughfin, also best pipes; 3, Cullybackey; 4, Marlacoo. Best M&D: Raphoe.

Grade 4b: 1, Derryclavin, also best pipes and M&D; 2, Gorey; 3, Portavogie; 4 on ensemble preference, McDonald Memorial, also best drums and bass section; 5, Whitewater.

Drum majors

Senior: 1, Paula Braiden, Cullybackey; 2, Samantha Gordon, Field Marshal Montgomery; 3, Brian Wilson, Lomond & Clyde; 4, Andrea McKeown, Battlehill; 5, David Brownlee, Derryclavin.

Juvenile: 1, Emma Barr, PSNI; 2, Caitlin Graham, Upper Crossgare; 3, James Kennedy, Whitewater; 4, Bethan Martin, Raffrey; 5, Gemma McDowell, Tullylagan.

Junior: 1, Zoe McDowell, Aughintober; 2, Beth Preston, Bessbrook Crimson Arrow; 3, Kathryn McKeown, Battlehill; 4, Lana Gibson, Major Sinclair; 5, Jason Nicholl, Tullylagan.

Novice: 1, Jamie Cupples, Killeen; 2, Rachel Lowry, Armaghbreague; 3, Kara Gilmour, Ballybriest; 4, Abigail Wenlock, Cullybackey; 5, Katie Bicker, Clogher & District.

 

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