Jonesboro Band celebrates three-in-a-row at All-Ireland Fleadh

August 25, 2009

By Bronagh Murphy

St. Brigid’s Band in Jonesboro made it three-in-a-row when they scooped first place in the senior accordion marching band section at the All-Ireland Fleadh at the weekend.

The awards just keep on coming for this hugely talented marching band and to take the All-Ireland title for the third year running is a fantastic achievement.

Drum Major, Siobhan Rice, says this year’s success is the accumulation of fifteen years of work for the band members, who meet and practice weekly.

The standard of this year’s competition was exceptionally high and it was the experience of St. Brigid’s Band that set them apart, says Siobhan.

“The other bands were very, very good but maybe it was our experience that gave us the edge.  We’ve been together that long that we know what everyone is thinking,” she said.

On behalf of the band, Siobhan dedicated the win to the band tutor, John Convery from Armagh, who is suffering ill-health at present.  John was unable to make the journey to Tullamore, Co. Offaly – the first time he has not been able to be with them at the competition.

Expressing her delight on this weekend’s win, Siobhan added, “We are absolutely delighted.  We want to thank everyone who supported us during the year, to the local community and especially to Jonesboro Market who sponsored us today.”

Success for Alana

Many other musicians from the south Armagh area participated in this year’s Fleadh and, up against the best of the rest, they gave a wonderful account of themselves.

Young Alana Flynn from Mullaghbawn came second in the Under 12 Bodhran, a fantastic achievement in her first year of competing at this level.  Alana’s tutor, Fergal O’Brien, is understandably delighted at the success of his young protégé and paid tribute to her achievement.

“This is a fantastic result for Alana and for the Ring of Gullion Comhaltas.  To be placed second at her first attempt in the competition is outstanding,” he said.  “She was up against the best in her field from all over the world.”

Fergal says Alana’s success will serve as an inspiration to all young aspiring musicians around the area.  “She truly is an inspiration to other musicians and for myself, as her tutor, this means the world.”

Fergal was also part of the Ring of Gullion Grúpa Cheoil that, despite putting in a fantastic performance, came up just short in their category.