L- R: (Front) Dearbhla Daly; Lauren McNamee; Roisin Daly; Pearse Og McMahon; Romy Caherty; Siofra Teelan (Back Row) Shannon Conway; Pearse McMahon (Singing Coach); Tiarnan Conway.

People often say about Ireland that it is a country that punches well above its weight when it comes to competing in sporting tournaments and other competitions. Remarkably, the same might be said of local Comhaltas branch CCE An Bonnán Buí.

At the recent county Fleadh held in Keady, the branch had a significant impact on a number of the competitions there with the result that the majority of those who took part will now represent Armagh at the Ulster Fleadh to be held in Bangor at the end of July.

Much of the acclaim belongs to the singers from this club who really stole the show on the day.

In the U12 Ladies English Ballad Singing competition, five competitors from the branch sang wonderfully, namely Shannon Conway, Romy Caherty, Lauren McNamee, Roisin Daly and Siofra Teelan, with Siofra picking up Gold on the day.

In the U12 Men’s English Ballad Singing, Pearse Óg McMahon gave a stirring rendition of Geordie Hanna’s The Fisher’s Cot and his lively take on Cathal McConnell’s “The Second Hand Trousers I Bought in Belcoo” was enough to win over adjudicator Roisin White’s heart and he was duly awarded first.

The U15 Men’s Irish and English Ballad Singing competitions were a hotly contested affair, with the result that Tiarnan Conway scooped silver in the Irish Ballads and Gold in the English Ballad competitions. Similarly, in the U15 Ladies English Ballad Singing the adjudicator was forced to choose between some very able singers, but was in no doubt that former All Ireland Champion and last year’s Ulster champion Dearbhla Daly was the obvious winner.

Singing coach to all these talented young singers Pearse McMahon also managed to nab a medal on the day and a trip to Bangor for the Ulster Fleadh at the end of July. Pearse remarked, “The real winner here today is the Irish tradition. When children of seven and eight get up in front of an audience and sing the songs left to us by the likes of Geordie Hanna and Sara Anne O’Neill, you know that our culture, our heritage and our many wonderful songs will continue to endure.”

Other medal winners on the day who will represent Armagh at the Ulster Fleadh are Iarla McMahon who secured two silver medals in Uilleann Pipes and Whistle, Pearse Óg McMahon who also won silver in Button Accordion competition and Dearbhla Daly who was third recommended through to the Ulster Fleadh in the Banjo competition.

With a few good weeks practice ahead, the CCE An Bonnán Buí branch would like to take this opportunity to wish all of those representing Armagh the best of luck at the provincial Fleadh.