Pipe bands: Force is with PSNI at Craigavon championships

The PSNI Pipes & Drums were the winners of grade two at the Craigavon & District Pipe Band Championships
The PSNI Pipes & Drums were the winners of grade two at the Craigavon & District Pipe Band Championships

Lurgan Park was a hive of activity on Saturday as it played host to the Craigavon & District Pipe Band Championships.

This contest, organised by the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association (Co Down section) in partnership with Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, is always a popular event and this year was no different.

Colmcille Pipe Band, winners of grade 3a

Colmcille Pipe Band, winners of grade 3a

Lurgan Park provides an excellent location and it will be the venue for the 2017 All-Ireland Pipe Band Championships.

However, there was a sad element to the day as it marked the retirement of long-serving Co Down section secretary Mervyn Herron after 34 years of hard work and dedication to the bands and drum majors.

In the competition arenas local band Bleary & District was the only grade one band on duty and after an impressive medley performance they collected all the prizes.

The PSNI band was the dominant force in grade two where they swept all before them, taking first place in the grade and prizes for best drums, bass section and the M&D prize. Closkelt, Thiepval Memorial and Aughintober completed the top four.

Drum major winners Zara Cupples (Cullybackey), Rachel Lowry (Armaghbreague), Emma Barr (Field Marshal Montgomery) and David Brownlee (Derryclavin)

Drum major winners Zara Cupples (Cullybackey), Rachel Lowry (Armaghbreague), Emma Barr (Field Marshal Montgomery) and David Brownlee (Derryclavin)

Another band on a great run of form is Colmcille in grade 3a. The band from Londonderry collected first place and prize for best drum corps at Lurgan Park with Aughintober taking second, Drumlough in third and Raffrey in fourth place. Best bass section in 3a went to Ballybriest.

Matt Boyd Memorial are the form band in grade 3b and they took first place on Saturday ahead of Marlacoo & District and Finvoy who were separated in second and third places by ensemble preference. Finvoy landed the prizes for best drums and bass section.

Two Co Down bands battled to top grade 4a with Portavogie claiming first place over Cleland Memorial on ensemble preference. The peninsula band also lifted the prizes for best drums corps and bass section. Completing the top five were Cullybackey, McDonald Memorial and Tamlaght O’Crilly.

St Mary’s Derrytrasna continue to impress in grade 4b where they ran out winners ahead of Clontibret, Sgt Walker, Kildoag and Gransha. Clontibret won the grade 4b best drums with Kildoag lifting the bass section prize.

In the drum majors competitions there were wins for David Brownlee (Derryclavin), Emma Barr (Field Marshal Montgomery), Rachel Lowry (Armaghbreague) and Zara Cupples (Cullybackey).


Grade 1: Bleary & District, also best drums, bass and M&D.

Grade 2: 1, PSNI, also best drums, bass and M&D; 2, Closkelt; 3, Thiepval Memorial; 4, Aughintober.

Grade 3a: 1, Colmcille, also best drums; 2, Aughintober; 3, Drumlough; 4, Raffrey. Best bass: Ballybriest. Best M&D: Marlacoo & District.

Grade 3b: 1, Matt Boyd Memorial, also best M&D; 2 on ensemble preference, Marlacoo & District; 3, Finvoy, also best drums and bass.

Grade 4a: 1 on ensemble preference, Portavogie, also best drums and bass; 2, Cleland Memorial; 3, Cullybackey; 4, McDonald Memorial; 5, Tamlaght O’Crilly. Best M&D: Battlehill.

Grade 4b: 1, St Mary’s Derrytrasna; 2, Clontibret, also best drums; 3, Sgt Walker Memorial; 4, Kildoag, also best bass; 5, Gransha. Best M&D: Kirkistown.

Drum Majors

Novice: 1, Zara Cupples, Cullybackey; 2, Louis Anderson, Crozier Memorial; 3, Benjamin Walker, Battlehill; 4, Lee Nicholl, Tullylagan; 5, Leanne Crooks, Syerla & District.

Junior: 1, Rachel Lowry, Armaghbreague; 2, Kathryn McKeown, Battlehill; 3, Kara Gilmour, Finvoy; 4, Abigail Wenlock, Cullybackey; 5, Jason Nicholl, Tullylagan.

Juvenile: 1, Emma Barr, Field Marshal Montgomery; 2, Zoe McDowell, Aughintober; 3, Lauren Abraham, Ballybriest; 4, Caitlin Graham, Upper Crossgare; 5, Lana Gibson, Ballyboley.

Adult: 1, David Brownlee, Derryclavin; 2, Lauren Hanna, Drumlough; 3, Andrea McKeown, Battlehill; 4, Alicia Dickson, Matt Boyd Memorial; 5, Jason Price, Ballycoan.