PORTARLINGTON Comhaltas had its best result in years at the 2012 All Ireland Fleadh Cheoil held in Cavan. Branch competitors competed over the two days in fifteen competitions.
Saturday was the most hectic day of the fleadh with Portarlington competitors competing in u/12 to u/18 competitions. Making their second appearance at an All Ireland Fleadh Cheoil was the u/15 Roscarrig Ceili Band. Third place winners in 2011 they were out to improve on that result. Well practiced, the members of the band gave an excellent performance but were not to be rewarded on the day for their effort. Members of the band were, on flutes, Sean Faherty & Roisin Fenlon, on fiddles, Mary Dunne, Mary O’Donnell and Ciara O’Donnell, on concertina, Clare Faherty, on banjo, John Tobin with Ryan McCarty on button accordion, on drums was Diarmuid Faherty and Natalie Aremu on piano.
Competing solo for the first time at All Ireland level was Mary O’Donnell in u/15 fiddle slow airs. Mary gave a good account of herself which unfortunately did not end up in the medals but the experience will deliver dividends at future Fleadhanna. There two competitors competing in the u/18 competitions, Daniel Delaney on drums and Katie Dunne in u/18 fiddle slow airs and u/18 comhra.
All Ireland champion, with several All Ireland competitions under his belt Daniel gave a spirited performance yet again but his style of drumming on this outing was not appreciated by the adjudicators on the day. In her competition, Katie’s performance was impeccable but the standard in the u/18 slow air fiddle competition was mighty competitive with Katie narrowly missing out on the medals. In her comhra competition, Katie was awarded a 3rd place medal an excellent outcome and equalling her result in 2011.
Four young musicians in the branch, Diarmuid Faherty, Senan Moran, Katie Dunne and Ciara Faherty were responsible for bringing back six All Ireland 1st place medals, five 2nd place medals and two 3rd place medals. Diarmuid Faherty gave an excellent account of himself and retained his 2012 All Ireland titles yet again for Button accordion and Melodeon under 12. He broke new ground this year when he also won the u/12 piano competition. Diarmuid went on to secure further honours when he came second with his sister Ciara Faherty in the u/12 Duet competition. He secured two further 2nd place medals in u/12 lilting and in the open age new composition competitions. The style of drumming favoured on the day by the adjudicators seen Diarmuid excellent drumming display gaining him a 3rd place medal.
Senan Moran competed in four competitions gaining honours in all four. After brilliant performances he secured 1st place in the Harp slow air competition followed by 1st in u/12 Piano Accompaniment with musician, Eimear Gill. Senan’s favorite instrument, the fiddle gave him heart turns on the day, when after a magnificent performance there was a re-call to decide 1st and 2nd place. Senan had an excellent reel well practiced which he played to a mighty standard ensuring him 1st place and the All Ireland fiddle champion u/12 title for 2012.
He finished off his fleadh experience for 2012 when he secured a 2nd place medal in the u/12 piano competition. Sunday seen the medal total increase when Martin O’Connell after competing in a very competitive senior button accordion competition, won 1st place. Martin who came 2nd at last year’s fleadh and who has a number of young Laois accordion players playing his style was very happy with the outcome on this occasion.