The Donegal Town Community Band, which was only re-formed less than three years ago, returned triumphant from Dungiven on Sunday night, having won the Ulster Fleadh Championship.
An ecstatic band, made up of 53 young people between the ages of 8 and 14, was able to share the glory with the Donegal GAA squad, who were bringing the Anglo Celt Cup home to the county for the second year in a row.
“It’s a massive achievement for the band,” chairman Pauric Kennedy told the Donegal Democrat, “and a first, I think, for the county, to have two Ulster Championships in the same day.
“We were so delighted that the band was able to be a part of this historic occasion. They certainly earned their place on the podium and it was wonderful that they shared in rapturous reception on the Diamond on Sunday night.”
Pauric paid tribute to bandmaster Brendan McMonagle. “Brendan has done a great job. He has a great team of instructors around him and fantastic kids - the average age is nine - who work really hard. He helped them pull it all together and you can only be proud to be associated with them.”
Band members rehearse on Tuesday nights in the St John Bosco Centre and on Friday nights as well in the run up to competitions. “Then they go home and practise, practise, practise,” Pauric said. “They are all very dedicated and we are so happy to see the hard work paying off.”
He also thanked the local community for their support. “Everyone in Donegal Town and surrounding areas has been great in supporting the band. We especially want to thank our main sponsors Donegal Town Credit Union and all the local businesses who have been very generous. Without them, this could not have happened.”
The band now go on to two national competitions, the All-Ireland Marching Bands Competition on August 12 and the All-Ireland Championships at the Fleadh Cheoil in Cavan on August 18.