Co Antrim Pipe Band Championships: Lower grades in spotlight

Pipe Major Wayne Byrne leads Marlacoo & District Pipe Band into the competition arena
Pipe Major Wayne Byrne leads Marlacoo & District Pipe Band into the competition arena

The bands in grades 4a and 4b took centre stage at the Co Antrim Pipe Band Championships which were held in the superb surroundings of Glenarm Castle on Saturday.

The Co Antrim section of the RSPBA NI Branch decided to hold its annual contest at this venue as part of the popular Dalriada Festival. However, the timing of the contest meant there was a lower attendance of bands than usual.

The main competitive action of the day fell to grades 4a and 4b as these featured the largest number of bands.

In grade 4a, Marlacoo & District’s run of fine form continued as they claimed a clean sweep of the prizes. The band from Co Armagh took first place along with the prizes for best pipes, drums and bass section. The trio of McNeilstown, Major Sinclair and Raphoe completed the prize list.

Portavogie’s good season shows no sign of stopping as they swept all before them in grade 4b. Prizes for best pipes, drums and bass section went the way of the Co Down band as they finished ahead of McDonald Memorial, Kildoag and Ballydonaghy.

Two bands contested grade 3b with Colmcille claiming first place along with the awards for best pipes, drums and bass section ahead of Finvoy.

Grades 3a and 2 featured just one band each with Ballybriest and Thiepval Memorial claiming the titles.

The Co Antrim champion drum majors are Brian Wilson (Lomond & Clyde), Lauren Abraham (Ballybriest), Beth Preston (Bessbrook Crimson Arrow) and Charlotte Ruddock (Battlehill).

Results

Grade 2: Thiepval Memorial, also best pipes, drums and bass section.

Grade 3a: 1, Ballybriest, also best pipes, drums and bass section.

Grade 3b: 1, Colmcille, also best pipes, drums and bass section; 2, Finvoy.

Grade 4a: 1, Marlacoo, also best pipes, drums and bass section; 2, McNeilstown; 3, Major Sinclair Memorial; 4, Raphoe.

Grade 4b: 1, Portavogie, also best pipes, drums and bass section; 2, McDonald Memorial, 3, Kildoag; 4, Ballydonaghy.

Drum majors

Senior: 1, Brian Wilson, Lomond and Clyde; 2, Lauren Hanna, Drumlough; 3, Paula Braiden, Cullybackey; 4, Alicia Dickson, Matt Boyd Memorial; 5, Andrea McKeown, Battlehill.

Juvenile: 1, Lauren Abraham, Ballybriest; 2, Zoe McDowell, Aughintober; 3, Caitlin Graham, Upper Crossgare; 4, Joanne Graham, William Kerr Memorial; 5, Gemma McDowell, Tullylagan.

Junior: 1, Beth Preston, Bessbrook Crimson Arrow; 2, Lana Gibson, Major Sinclair Memorial; 3, Jamie Cupples, Killeen; 4, Kara Gilmour, Ballybriest; 5, Kathryn McKeown, Battlehill.

Novice: 1, Charlotte Ruddock, Battlehill; 2, Kathy Hunter, Manorcunningham; 3, Abigail Wenlock, Cullybackey; 4, Leeanne Crooks, Syerla & District; 5, Louis Anderson, Crozier Memorial.