ST Colmcille’s Pipe Band, Tullamore continued their whirlwind start to the season with a truly historic victory at the County Down Championships in Newcastle last Saturday.
It was the band’s first ever outright success at a competition north of the border and follows on from their fourth prize at the Co Tyrone Championships last month while also collecting four trophies at the South of Ireland Championships in Cobh earlier this month.
Last Saturday’s result was enhanced by the fact that the band also won the prize for best drum corps. The pipe corps was also placed first by both piping judges in what turned out to be a reasonably comfortable victory in the end in the 4B grade in which a total of 10 bands took part. Filling out the prize list were Ulster outfits Bellaghy, Fivemiletown and Clogher.
Pipe major Joe Mooney heralded the “inspirational” tuition of former band instructor Tony Healion, through whose hands six members of the pipe corps passed in their formative years, while the ever-positive pipe sergeant John Leamy beamed: “It’s a stupendous stimulus going into the All-Irelands next month.”
It was the finest achievement yet for drum sergeant Willie Currams, who has pieced together an ever-improving drum corps which is bolstered by talented youngsters Ross Cannon and Brandon Troy. Willie added: “I’m very proud of everyone – it’s a seminal moment given where we started from a few years back.”
The band’s next competitive outing comes at the All-Ireland Championships on Saturday week, July 2, in Lisburn, an event at which recent results and performances suggest they should be right in the running.
Band members who played in Newcastle last Saturday were: Joe Mooney (pipe major), John Leamy (pipe sergeant), Don Devine, Gary Mangan, Pat Middleton, Paul Mooney, Pat Nolan; Willie Currams (drum sergeant), Michael Middleton (drum corporal), Ross Cannon, Brandon Troy; Ollie Pyke, Martin Donnellan, Susan Feery and Leo Middleton.