The ‘Champion of Champions’ in tune

Pipe Major Arnold Mitchell and tenor drummer Darren Crooks from Ballybriest Pipe Band pictured receiving the 'Champion of Champion' trophies for best band and best drum corp in grade 3A from the Chieftain of the Gathering, Councillor Mark Fielding (Deputy Mayor of Coleraine Borough Council) at the North West Pipe Band & Drum Major Championships and RSPBANI Champion of Champions at Ramore Head, Portrush on Saturday 24th August.
Pipe Major Arnold Mitchell and tenor drummer Darren Crooks from Ballybriest Pipe Band pictured receiving the 'Champion of Champion' trophies for best band and best drum corp in grade 3A from the Chieftain of the Gathering, Councillor Mark Fielding (Deputy Mayor of Coleraine Borough Council) at the North West Pipe Band & Drum Major Championships and RSPBANI Champion of Champions at Ramore Head, Portrush on Saturday 24th August.
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BALLYBRIEST and Tullylagan Pipe Bands are celebrating being crowned ‘Champion of Champions’ in Portrush on Saturday (August 24) at the North West Pipe Band and Drum Major Championships.

The contest at Ramore Head saw the end to the pipe band season in Northern Ireland, attracting a large entry of 46 bands.

Tullylagan won Grade 3B while Ballybriest picked up the award in Grade 3A for best band and drum corp.

The Champion of Champions is calculated based on the best five results out of the local competitions (the All-Ireland is excluded).

The 2013 winners were as follows: bands and drums:

Grade 1: Band - Cullybackey, Drums - Ravara; Grade 2: Band and drums - Bleary and District; Grade 3a: Band and drums - Ballybriest; Grade 3b: Band - Tullylagan, Drums - Syerla and District; Grade 4a: Band and drums – Tullintrain; Grade 4b: Band and drums - Raphoe.

Drum majors:

Adult Grade - Paula Braiden (Cullybackey), Juvenile Grade - Jason Price (Marlacoo), Junior Grade - Zoe McDowell (Aughintober) and Novice Grade - Kathryn McKeown (Battlehill).

A major part of the prize distribution was the presentation of commemorative plaques to the three world champions from Northern Ireland, they were: Zoe McDowell (Aughintober) - Junior Grade Drum Major, Jason Price (Marlacoot) Juvenile Grade Drum Major; Samantha Gordon received the award on behalf of Grade 1 World Champion Pipe Band Field Marshal Montgomery.

Ballybriest and Tullylagan are no stranger to success, with Tullylagan last week achieving third place overall in Grade 3B of the World Pipe Band Championships in Glasgow. Ballybriest were also in tune, securing fourth overall in Grade 3A.

Cookstown Ulster Unionist Councillor Trevor Wilson said he wanted to congratulate both bands on the excellent performances.

“It’s terrific when local bands come home with silverware,” he said. “And it’s great that all their efforts during the winter months have paid off.”

Cllr Wilson said this year has been successful for all three bands - Ballybriest, Tullylagan and Matt Boyd Memorial.

“I know they are looking forward to a few weeks off before practice starts again,” added Cllr Wilson.

The bands are due to start tuning up for the new season.