200-plus entry for All-Ireland solos in Ballymun
MORE than 200 musicians are registered for take part in next Saturday's All-Ireland solos at Ballymun School in Dublin, when the action will go on from 10am until well after 6pm.
Ashley McMichael (FM Montgomery) and Mikey McKenna (St Laurence O'Toole) will be out to defend their respective piping and drumming titles in the senior grade, both of which ooze quality throughout.
Joint promoters the IPBA and the RSPBANI are thrilled at the entry, where the youngest competitor is just nine years old and the oldest is just a tad shy of pension age.
There are 122 pipers down to attend, with the entry broken as follows: chanter class - 2, novice under-12 - 7, juvenile under-14 - 12, juvenile under-16 - 16; junior B - 21, junior A - 15, intermediate - 6, senior - 13, piobaireachd B - 20, piobaireachd A - 12.
Some 83 percussionists will compete, and the breakdown here is: drum pad -12 - 2, novice under-12 - 2, juvenile under-14 - 22, juvenile under-16 - 10; junior B - 16, junior A - 14, intermediate - 5, senior - 10.
The All-Ireland always throws up back-stories, and even before a note is sounded, SLOT's Syd Moore has confirmed that this will be his last national solos and in future he'll just concentrate on band work.
A prolific winner in under-age competitions, he took a decade away from solos, but since returning in 2009 he's claimed two Ulsters titles, three Leinster crowns and a C grade win at Bratoch Gorm, though never a senior All-Ireland.
Could this be his year? What a tribute that would be to Syd's teacher and tutor, the late pipe major Tommy Robinson, who he describes as "my friend and second father". Perhaps its written in the stars.
For those heading to Ballymun, here is the running order in the top two categories:
:: Senior piping draw (starts 3pm) - 1 Ashley McMichael (FM Montgomery), 2 Rachel Moloney (Closkelt), 3 Ryan W.J. McFarland (RSPBA), 4 Kris Coyle (FM Montgomery), 5 Ben Greaves (Bellaghy), 6 Sydney Moore (St Laurence O'Toole), 7 Jonathan Lamberton (FM Montgomery), 8 Alan Glenholmes (St Laurence O'Toole), 9 Scott Barr (FM Montgomery), 10 Peter Donnan (Cloughfin), 11 Glen Couples (RSPBA), 12 Kevin Rogers (St Laurence O'Toole), 13 Richard McGrath (Cullybackey).
:: Senior drumming draw (starts 3pm) - 1 Craig Brown (Boghall & Bathgate), 2 Derek Doyle (St Laurence O'Toole), 3 Jason Hoy (Cullybackey), 4 Aaron McLean (FM Montgomery), 5 William Glenholmes (Cullybackey), 6 Conor McNally (St Laurence O'Toole), 7 Brendan Megoran (RSPBA), 8 Michael McKenna (St Laurence O'Toole), 9 Stuart Wilson (Boghall & Bathgate), 10 Stephen Creighton (St Laurence O'Toole).