ST Colmcille’s Pipe Band, Tullamore made a hugely encouraging start to the 2012 season by taking second prize at the Borough of Ards Championships in Newtownards, Co Down last Saturday.
After the most successful season in its history in 2011, the band was upgraded ahead of this year and, competing in Grade 4A for the first time since 1993, held off the challenge of several more established bands which augurs well for the season ahead.
In first place was Syerla Pipe Band from Co Tyrone, who only just edged Tullamore out of top honours, with the prize list completed by Achill from Co Mayo in third with Closkelt from Co Down, who pipped St Colmcille’s to first prize in last year’s World Championships, fourth.
The pipe corps continued its good form from last year having been rated highest on a day when several members were making their first competitive appearance with the band.
Chief among those were young tenor drumming trio Jordan Murphy, Ciarán Whelan and Cormac Jaffray, who have contributed richly to the middle section this year.
The band has also gained two new pipers, including Killeigh native Mick Foy who served as pipe major of the Fintan Lalor Pipe Band in Dublin for several years, and two side drummers.
St Colmcille’s will be competing next in the Mid-Ulster Championships in Cookstown, Co Tyrone on June 9 in the build-up to their three major events - the All-Ireland and European Championships in July before the season climaxes with World Championships in Glasgow in August.
Meanwhile, the band has ordered an extra print run on the centenary booklets which sold out at their 100th anniversary concert in the Tullamore Court Hotel last November.
The booklets, which provided a pictorial history of the band dating back to its foundation in 1911, are priced at just €5 and are available from band secretary Pat Nolan (087) 6101773.