Limerick goes crazy for Cougars at International Band Championship parade

Madeline Yew leading La Cañada High School Marching Spartans at today's 52nd International Band Championship Parade. Photo: Don Moloney.

THERE were roars of “Go Cougars” on Shannonside as a Minnesota band took home the top prize following an energetic performance at the 52nd annual International Band Championship parade in Limerick City.

The 110-strong Lakeville South Marching Cougars were one of 16 bands from across Ireland, the US, and the UK who filled the Treaty streets with the sound of music at the much loved annual parade.

Thousands took to the streets on the Bank Holiday Monday afternoon, eager for more of the “different kind of energy” buzzing through the city after Sunday’s St Patrick’s Day parade.

The Minnesota band took home the top prize this year – won last year by Oklahoma’s Pride of Bixby Marching Band – in front of thousands of spectators in an annual spectacle that is unique to Limerick.

The Cougars were presented with the Silver Perpetual Trophy for Overall Parade Champion by Mayor of Limerick Gerald Mitchell after a free showcase in Arthur’s Quay Park following the parade. The US troop also took home the Best International Band prize.

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Members of the Lakeville South Marching Cougars, overall winners of this year’s competition, presented with their trophy by Gerald Mitchell. Photo: Don Moloney.

There were awards aplenty for both native and international acts, with Boherbouy Brass and Reed Band (who also performed in Sunday’s St Patrick’s Day parade) winning the Best Local Band prize.

The Youngsville High School Marching Eagles were named Best Youth Band, while Best Musical Performance went to the Clondalkin Youth Band.

Best Uniform went to the stylish Mullingar Town Band while the award for Most Entertaining Performance was given to Banna Chluain Meala.

Friendly Sons of the Shillelagh Pipes and Drums were named Best Pipe Band.

The judges gave Spirit of the Festival awards to The Friendship Band and the Pyjama Band, who took to the streets in their cosy bedwear.

Speaking after the parade, Mayor Mitchell lauded performances saying: “What a display of exceptional musical talent. These bands marched through our streets with an explosive energy and all-round high entertainment.”

“We are the only ones in the country who have the International Band Championship and you can see that the people of Limerick appreciate that as they always turn out in large numbers.”