It was announced that there were 1,900 cars parked in the grounds which gives some idea of the crowds that attended what was a great day of competition.
The Chieftain of the Day was Councillor Uel Mackin, the mayor of the local council, who in his speech was full of praise for both the standard of the competing bands and the suitability of the venue for such an event.
Prior to the announcement of the results Meaghan Lyons, a member of the branch’s media committee, referred to the Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band receiving a special award at the Gradam Ceoil TG4 2018 event in the Waterfront Hall. Pipe Major Richard Parkes was then called forward to receive a memento from the NI Branch in recognition of the band’s outstanding achievement in the world of folk music from which pipe bands are often excluded.
It was good to have three Grade 1 bands in attendance and not surprisingly the premier grade was taken by Field Marshal Montgomery with Vale of Atholl second and the PSNI third – however the police band picked up the drum corps prize.
Closkelt got back to winning ways in Grade 2 with newly crowned Scottish champions Ravara second and New Ross & District third.
In Grades 3A down to 4B it was very much a case of the usual suspects winning namely Marlacoo & District (3A), St Mary’s Derrytrasna (3B), McNeillstown (4A) and Gransha (4B). While St Mary’s Derrytrasna and McNeillstown managed to take the drum corps prizes in their grades as well that was not the case in 3A and 4B. The Quinn Memorial drummers lifted the prize for 3A while the rapidly improving Broughshane & District did the same for 4B.
There was a new winner in the Adult drum major section with Closkelt’s James Kennedy taking first prize. James and Emma Barr (who was third) only came up from the Juveniles this season and with a win each locally as well as a UK Championship for Emma signifies that they are most certainly making a big impact. Rachel Lowry won the Juvenile, Abigail Wenlock the Junior and Louise Smiton the Novice.
This Saturday it’s off to Portrush for the final local contest of the season with the Champion of Champions titles up for grabs in each grade.
Grade 1: 1st Field Marshal Montgomery, 2nd Vale of Atholl, 3rd PSNI (also Best Drums, Bass Section and M&D).
Grade 2: 1st Closkelt (also Best Drums and Bass Section), 2nd Ravara (also Best M&D), 3rd New Ross & District, 4th Colmcille.
Grade 3A: 1st Marlacoo & District, 2nd Quinn Memorial (also Best Drums and Bass Section), 3rd Thiepval Memorial, 4th Matt Boyd Memorial (also Best M&D).
Grade 3B: 1st St Mary’s Derrytrasna (also Best Drums and Bass Section), 2nd Battlehill, 3rd Major Sinclair Memorial (also Best M&D), 4th Clogher & District.
Grade 4A: 1st McNeillstown (also Best Drums), 2nd Kildoag (also Best M&D), 3rd Cullybackey, 4th McDonald Memorial. Best Bass Section: Tamlaght O’Crilly.
Grade 4B: 1st Gransha (also Best Bass Section), 2nd Wicklow, 3rd Broughshane & District (Best Drums), 4th Bess brook Crimson Arrow, 5th, Sgt Walker Memorial, 6th Ballyboley. Best M&D: Kirkistown.
Adult: 1st James Kennedy, 2nd Lauren Hanna, 3rd Emma Barr, 4th Alicia Dickson, 5th Jason Price.
Juvenile: 1st Rachel Lowry, 2nd Jamie Cupples, 3rd Jason Nicholl, 4th Kara Gilmour, 5th Emily Crooks.
Junior: 1st Abigail Wenlock, 2nd Kathy Hunter, 3rd Charlotte Ruddock, 4th Lee Nicholl, 5th Zara Cupples.
Novice: 1st Louise Smiton, 2nd Carys Graham, 3rd Katie Clarke, 4th Jamie Lee Wilson, 5th Ben Dickson.