Flute player Tim McHugh from Newport in Mayo was announced as winner of the Seán Ó Riada gold medal and prize money of €2,500 on Friday night. He was among 15 traditional flute and whistle players who took to the stage in the Rochestown Park Hotel in Cork on Friday January 13 to compete in the final. The judges on the night were renowned musicians Mary Bergin and Michael Tubridy, and they were joined by Matt Molloy via Skype from 1,500 miles away in the Canary Islands.
Tim McHugh said that he was surprised but delighted to have won, and that he had greatly enjoyed the night and the atmosphere. Some of the other finalists on the night included friend and fellow Mayoman Ferdia Ó Mongáin, and Dubliner Eoghan Ó Ceannabháin, so that ensured there was a bit of friendly rivalry. Tim McHugh learned most of his music from friends and family, and plays a lot around Westport, as well as in Dingle, Galway, and around Dublin where he currently lives and works as an engineer.
The 15 finalists were chosen from among more than 60 musicians from all over the world who entered the competition on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta programme Cuireadh Chun Ceoil, and included a Lutheran priest Markus Asunta from Finland, young Irish American musician Sean Gavin from Detroit, and award-winning Scottish guitarist and flute player Tom Oakes.