Keelan McGrath Wins Seán Ó Riada Gold Medal

Keelan McGrath

Keelan McGrath Wins Seán Ó Riada Gold Medal

Youngest ever winner of traditional music soloist competition.

Accordionist Keelan McGrath from Borrisokane in County Tipperary has won the 2018 Seán Ó Riada Gold Medal competition.

The young musician – aged only 16 – competed against 15 other finalists in a concert broadcast live from Cork on RTÉ Ráidió na Gaeltachta on Friday 2 February. The judges were concertina player Noel Hill, accordionist Charlie Harris and accordion and concertina player Mick Mulcahy.

Listen back to one of his winning performances below.

McGrath is the youngest ever musicians to win the prize. Each year the competition, established by musician and broadcaster Peadar Ó Riada, focusses on different traditional music instruments. Previous winners include fiddle players Aoife Ní Bhriain and Darragh Curtin, harpers Oisín Morrison and Úna Ní Fhlannagáin, uilleann pipers Tiarnán Ó Duinnchinn and Éanna Ó Cróinín, flute player Seán Gavin and concertina player Cormac Begley. The winner receives a Seán Ó Riada medal made by Cashel goldsmith Pádraig Ó Mathúna and €2,000.

McGrath is also a previous winner of the All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil under-15 title – two years in a row – and last year won the Under-18 title in his first year to compete in that category.

Watch the full programme below on Facebook Live – McGrath performs at 10:22. 

Published on 5 February 2018

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