2021 race programme is revealed

This is the proposed agreed race programme for 2021.

Friday, 12th February 2021, 8:40 am
Jimmy Smyth (l) topped MAC from INFC Lamballe in 2019 and was best this year from NIPA St Malo, with Ahoghill Chairman Tom Young.
Jimmy Smyth (l) topped MAC from INFC Lamballe in 2019 and was best this year from NIPA St Malo, with Ahoghill Chairman Tom Young.

I do not have to remind you that this programme could be amended at any time. There is an application from Glen HPS to become members for 2021. This application has firstly to be approved by the RPRA (Irish Region).

NIPA Old Birds – Saturday 11th April Mullingar. Saturday 17th April Tullamore, Saturday 24th April Roscrea, Saturday 1st May Gowran Park, Saturday 8th May Fermoy, Saturday 15th May Castletown, Saturday 22nd May Barleycove Inl National, Saturday 22nd May Fermoy, Saturday 29th May Talbenny, Saturday 5th June Talbenny, Saturday 5th June Fermoy OB 5Bird Duplicating, Saturday 12th June Bude, Saturday 12th June Skibbereen Yearling National, Saturday 19th June Penzance & Penzance OB Classic, Saturday 19th June Fermoy, Thursday 24th June St Malo/Plougastel OB National.

NIPA Young Birds – Saturday 17th July Area Liberations, Saturday 24th July Area Liberations, Saturday 31st July Roscrea (Mass Lib), Saturday 7th August Gowran Park, Saturday 14th August Fermoy, Saturday 21st August Fermoy & Fermoy YB 5Bird, Saturday 28th August Talbenny YB National, Saturday 28th August Roscrea, Saturday 4th September Corrin, Saturday 11th September Skibbereen YB Inl National.

Adrian Shiels best-ever season, and topped Ahoghill Centre in NIPA Talbenny YB Nat.

INFC Single Bird Challenge - It is planned to have the Single Bird Challenge competition in 2021 from the King’s Cup Race. Any member who entered the 2020 competition is entitled to a free entry in 2021. If you wish to change your selection, please use the attached entry form and submit it to David Black before the 17th March 2021 - your entry is free. Any member wishing to join the competition for the 2021 season the fee is £5.00 or 7.00 euros. Please forward your entry and payment before the 17th March 2021 to David Black - address is on the entry form. A list of the 2020 entries can be viewed on the web site infc.co.uk

Entry forms are available from the web site infc.co.uk - Hopefully we will have a competition in 2021.

The 2020 proposed race programme will also remain with revised 2021 dates. This will once again be subject to any restrictions in place. Skibbereen Old Bird Tuesday 25th May, Sennen Cove Yearling Nat Wednesday 9th June, St Allouestre Kings Cup Friday 2nd July, Plougastel-Daoulas or Lamballe Friendship Nat Friday 9th July, Penzance YB Grand Nat Wednesday 1st September, Skibbereen Young Bird Saturday 18th September. The management committee plan a review of the situation in mid/end of March when hopefully they will be in a position, to make informed decisions on the way forward for the 2021 season.

Drumnavaddy Inv HPS - Breeder/buyer update from last year’s Young Bird

Mr & Mrs Robinson won the MAC Diploma for Old Bird K/O in 2019.

Due to the cancellation of NIPA Skibbereen YB Nat 2020 the Club has decided to run last year’s Breeder/Buyer race from this year’s NIPA Skibbereen Yearling National on Saturday 12th June 2021. We would like to thank all the competing pigeon’s fanciers - breeder/buyers of the pigeons.

The following positions and prize money will be as follows: 1st £500/£500, 2nd £250/£250, 3rd £125/£125, 4th £90/£90, 5th £70/£70, 6th £50/£50. More updates will follow near the time.

Archive Derby & National Update from 1976

To stay in the year we are currently looking at I will cover the major race events from that time, text by Martin Russell and pics ISN.

Mr & Mrs Robinson from Ahoghill, 1st MAC from Corrin (2) in old birds.

After the Rheims fiasco 12 months ago the OB National flown from Rennes was a welcome change. Only three birds were clocked on the day, but all the prize money was taken up well before noon on Saturday. The winning bird “Mountain Smada Queen” raced by Francey Adams of Brookfield was clocked at 10.20pm, flying a distance of 485 miles into the Crumlin Road in Belfast to record a velocity of 898ypm. This four year old hen the only day bird in Northern Ireland joins the select band of the All-time Greats. The other two day of toss birds were recorded in Dublin. Believe it or not these fanciers J White and B Madden are brothers in law. Their lofts at Portmarnock are not more than 20 yards apart. Joe White fainted when his three year old chequer hen alighted at 8.40pm. Imagine the scene when informed he was placed 2nd Open INFC with winnings totalling £998 and a new Ford Escort car.

Brendan Madden & Sons clocked their two year old black w/f cock at 9.05pm to win 3rd Open INFC. Savage Bros from Castledawson were first to clock on Saturday morning, their four year old blue chequer hen recorded a velocity of 804ypm for the 506 mile journey. These fanciers clocked a second arrival to win 73rd Open and the Harkness Rose Bowl for the Best 2 Bird Average. Castledawson must be a favourite spot for National birds as J Bradley clocked three birds in the prize list, 10th, 53rd and 119th Open. Savage Bros concentrate on the long distance events and were placed 2nd and 3rd Open Beauvais in 1973.

A season seldom passes without the name of R Harkness cropping up. Bob takes 5th Open with a three year old white hen. Joey Wright of Kells & Dist another name associated with the big races takes 6th Open winning £963 with his fancied candidate. This three year old mosaic cock has already proved himself at the distance winning 2nd Open Beauvais in 1975. Tommy Tweed from Ballymoney in his first National attempt was 7th Open, this four year old mealy cock might have been higher placed if its owner had not fallen asleep. Loft in form is J W & T Harper of Ballymena, Tommy is again high in the prize list. Total winnings in the last three weeks now stand at £3,125. Tommy’s 8th Open winner was a four year old blue chequer hen bred down from his Blue Hopas hen 15744 and the Dainton Hen. Incidentally 15744 figures in the ancestry of the winner “Smada Queen”. Jack Rodgers & Son from Ballymena have a National record second to none in 1974 they were placed 8th Open Nantes, 1975 12th Open Rheims and this year they take 14th Open Rennes. Congratulations to Jack Irvine & Son from Ballyclare, their Champion hen “Kia Ora” now joins the very selected few to have won the Hall of Fame Diploma. Her placings were 11th Open Nantes 1973, 3rd Open Nantes in 1974 and 66th Rennes in 1976.

INFC Kings Cup Rennes 913/1830 – F Adams Brookfield 898 £100, J White Portmarnock 859, B Madden & Sons Portmarnock 834, Savage Bros Castledawson 804, R Harkness Glenavy 774, J Wright Kells 773, T Tweed Ballymoney 771, J W & T Harper Ballymena 760, H Elliott Lisburn 735, J Bradley Castledawson 735, S Calvert Bleary 720, Moffatt Bros Coleraine 717, R Watson & Son Dromore 716, J Rodgers & Son Ballymena 713, Downey & Dowds Maralin 713, Kennedy & Swail Moira 710, R J Elliott Ballymoney 709, T McKnight Banbridge 706, D Shanks Lurgan 704, R McIlroy & Son Carrick 701.

“Mounsmanda Queen” winner 1st INFC Rennes 485 miles 1976 and Kings Cup, owned and raced by Adams & Son.

Messrs Jennings & Rea from Ballynahinch won the Friendship Cup from Beauvais, 1st Irish Section collecting the Vaux Usher Silver Tankard at the annual dinner and prize presentation held at the Stormont Hotel, Belfast. The previous seasons Kings Cup winner Sam Topping presented the Blue Riband of the sport to winners in 1976 Francis Adams of the Brookfield club in Belfast.

Ideal weather conditions – this was the forecast for the Old Bird Dinard Derby. Liberation was at 6.00am and early birds were expected around tea-time. The first bird reported was at 7.30pm, the rest of the convoy however were slow to follow up. As darkness fell only a handful of birds were recorded locally, including five in the East Down Combine and two in Ulster Federation. Excellent racing conditions prevailed throughout Sunday and numerous birds were reported from dawn onwards. Banbridge Social HPS partnership of Jim Walsh and Tommy Mallon recovered the first arrival to win 1st Sect E and 1st Open NIPA plus £1,607 in cash.

The winner “Banbridge Queen” was a yearling blue hen line bred Fabry and Jurion stock from J Numney was thirteen and a half hours on the wing and recorded a velocity of 952ypm. Jack Numney is well known when racing in partnership as Luton & Numney, The performances of their Champion hen twice a runner-up in the Kings cup is quite a record. “Banbridge Queen’s” pre-Derby outings consisted of Arklow, two Wexford’s, Dungarvan and Haverfordwest. She was slipped a youngster in the Haverfordwest event and was placed 2nd Drunmnavaddy HPS and 4th in Banbridge Social HPS. The partners known locally as “the terrible twins” reported this nest condition for the big event and was entered carrying three and three quarter new flights. The twins only teamed up for racing since 1974 and have quickly established themselves. Last season they won 1st Open NIPA in the 1st Arklow for the young birds. One week later they were placed 1st Sect E & 2nd Open NIPA. Their impromptu stage performance at last year’s NIPA Ladies Night is well remembered. This year’s prize distribution is rumoured, will have no professional entertainment, the twins will still be celebrating.

The Newtownbreda loft of D Chew is the East Down Combine winner, Davy the only fancier to clock two day arrivals also wins 5th Open EDC and the Millar Gold Cup. Sam Hanna & Partners from Kingswood HPS top the Ulster Fed with a Red Cheq yearling cock and Francey Adams from Brookfield was the only other Ulster Fed fancier to record a day arrival. J W & T Harper fresh from their Weymouth success are again in the money winning 1st Sect B & 4th Open NIPA and the Devine Memorial Cup for the Best 2 Bird Average. He wins £2,000 in the space of a week and Tommy’s bird a three year old blue chequer cock is a grand-son of the McCluggage Kings Cup winner “Inver King”. Undoubtedly the gamest bird in the race belonged to G McWhirter of Glenarm. This bird almost 18 hours on the wing was spotted by local fanciers as it homed across the sea front at an incredible hour of 11.45pm.

NIPA Dinard Open 1445/3102 – Walsh & Mallon 952, W Clydesdale 899, Ervine Bros 888, J W & T Harper 880, J Curran 876, G McDowell 875, F Steele 869, R Russell & Son 858, C Bamber & Son 856, T McAlonan 850, V Holmes 842, E Nelson & Son 838, A E Pollock 834, G R Cunningham 830, G McWhirter 759, P Connor 752, Smyth Bros 745, J Smyth 726, Russell Bros 710, H Cochrane & Son 708.

Sect A Dinard 125/2312 – J Crawford Limavady 689, H S Mills Londonderry 663, A Dealey Coleraine 620, J McAuley & Son Coleraine 613, Larmour Bros Cookstown & Dist 611, H A Montgomery Coleraine 606, G Heath Londonderry 605, McNulty & McGee Foyle 600, J Telford Coleraine 598, A Boyles & Son Foyle 585.

Ahoghill won the MAC Champions League in 2019, from (l) J Smyth, L Robinson winning loft, Paddy McManus and T Young.

Sect B Dinard 242/559 – J W & T Harper Ballymena 880, G McDowell Kells 875, F Steele Ahoghill 869, T McAlonan Cullybackey 850, Smyth Bros Ballymena 745, W & J Smyth Ballymena 726, Russell Bros Cullybackey 710, Hanlon & Lavery Muckamore 697, D Adams & Son Broughshane 682, F McAleese Ballymoney 666.

Sect C Dinard 311/733 – C Bamber & Son Larne 856, V Holmes Donaghadee 842, G McWhirter Glenarm 789, Robinson Bros Glenarm 706, T & D Mills Larne 700, D Stewart Glengormley 698, Adamson & McCambridge Larne 692, W Barron Carrick Soc 668, Smyth Bros & Johnston Larne 659, S Robinson Doagh 656.

Sect D Dinard 340/624 – Ervine Bros Lisburn 888, R Russell & Son Ballymacbrennan 858, G R Cunningham Hillfoot 830, P Connor Dundrum 762, H Cochrane & Son Killyleagh 708, L Fryers Lisburn 704, I Moles Killyleagh 689, W Parkes Killyleagh 687, J McFadden Dromore 669, H Browne Largymore 614.

Sect E Dinard 424/923 – Walsh & Mallon Drumnavaddy 952, W Clydesdale Banbridge 889, J Curran Lurgan Amal 876, E Nelson & Son Gilford 838, A E Pollock Gilford 834, G Burrell & Son Queens 689, S Jardine & Son Banbridge 682, Houston & McDonald Glenavy 675, M G White Portadown 674, J McKeown & Son Annaghmore 670.

Ahoghill Flying Club 2020

My thanks to club Secretary Chris Moore who supplied a written report of the 2020 season to remember and the second year of the Ahoghill Flying Club operating, as the local NIPA Centre.

Highest prize-winners between old bird and young bird racing, was the high-flying Young McManus & Sons who have dominated in this club for as long as I can remember, total dedication and hard work from Paddy and son William. They were followed by the ever-present Mr & Mrs Robinson and Jimmy Smyth & Son with Adrian Shiels 4th overall in what was, a best-ever racing season especially in the young birds, and topping Ahoghill Centre in the Talbenny YB National.

Jimmy Smyth was best in the OB Derby from France timing two arrivals from St Malo, as did Mr & Mrs Robinson who also recorded two birds and an arrival as well for William Livingstone.

Several donations were made over the season and the club winners, were as follows:-

£10 from Harold Cubitt for 1st Talbenny was won by T & G Balmer. £10 from John Millar for 2nd Talbenny but changed to Bude was won by Mr & Mrs Robinson. £10 from John Millar for the Old Bird Penzance but changed to Fermoy was won by Mr & Mrs Robinsom. £50 from John Balmer Decorating for the OB Nat St Malo was won by J Smyth & Son. £50 Voucher from Dougan’s Furniture Store for YB Nat Talbenny was won by Adrian Shiels.

My thanks once again to Mervyn Eagleson who set me up the seasons results, a lot of help that is invaluable.

Old Birds - 07/06/20 Tullamore Young, McManus & Sons 1st, 2nd & 3rd vel 1433 2nd MA Combine. 13/06/20 Gowran Park J Smyth & Son 1st & 2nd vel 1255 9th & 10th MA Combine. 20/06/20 Corrin (1) Mr & Mrs Robinson 1st & 2nd vel 1922 3rd & 6th MA Combine, 02/07/20 Corrin (2) Mr & Mrs Robinson 1st & 2nd vel 1385 1st & 15th MA Combine. Corrin in Co Cork was the venue for the fourth old bird race of the season. Birds were liberated on Thursday 2nd July at 10.30am in a north west wind. Taking top spot this week in the Mid Antrim Combine are the husband and wife partnership of Laurence and Heather Robinson of Ahoghill FC. They timed their winning two year old chequer roundabout hen at 14.50pm flying 204 miles to their tidy lofts on the Glebe Road in Ahoghill. The bird had two races as a youngster and raced steady as a yearling winning a couple of club prizes and was 3rd bird the previous week. Sire is Willy Van Herck from P & J Boal of Dromore and dam is a cross of Vandenabeele from Harry Boyd of Kells and Janssen from Heather’s dad Willy Greer. Another top result from last season’s Champion League and old bird Knock-Out winners in the MA Combine. 06/07/20 Skibbereen Inland National Mr & Mrs Robinson 1st & 2nd vel 1338 3rd & 4th MA Combine, 11/07/20 Talbenny T & G Balmer vel 1288 9th MA Combine, 15/07/20 Skibbereen Yearling National J Smyth & Son vel 1229 14th MA Combine, 19/07/20 Bude Mr & Mrs Robinson 1st & 2nd vel 1065 3rd MA Combine, 25/07/20 Fermoy Comeback Mr & Mrs Robinson 1st, 2nd & 3rd vel 1476 11th Combine, 30/07/20 St Malo OB French National J Smyth & Son vel 1451 9th MA Combine

Young Birds - 08/08/20 Mullingar Area Lib (1) Young, McManus & Sons 1st, 2nd, 3rd & 4th vel 1285 13th, 14th & 15th MA Combine 48/1615, 15/08/20 Mullingar Area Lib (2) A Shiels vel 1135, 23/08/20 Roscrea A Shiels 1st, 2nd & 3rd vel 1643, 29/08/20 Gowran Park J Smyth & Son vel 1145, 06/09/20 Fermoy (1) Young, McManus & Sons 1st & 2nd vel 1224, 12/09/20 Talbenny YB National A Shiels vel 1309 6th MA Combine 38/201, 12/09/20 Tullamore Comeback J Smyth & Son vel 1907 11th MA Combine 31/502, 19/09/20 Fermoy (2) Young, McManus & Sons vel 1067, 19/09/20 Fermoy 5 Bird A Shiels vel 1062.

Look back at 1976 – The dance annual dinner and prize distribution of the Ahoghill Flying Club took place in the Adair Arms Hotel in Ballymena. There was an attendance of members and friends which exceeded all expectations. Principal guests were Mayor Mr George Sloa, Randalstown, Chairman Mr John Kyle, Mr & Mrs E G Leckey (Cullybackey), Mr & Mrs James Martin representing the local press, Mr & Mrs Albert Young and Mr & Mrs Charlie Young.

Before asking the Mayor George Sloan to present the cups Ahoghill Chairman James Martin complimented the performances of all who shared in the prizes. Although this season neither Sect or Open Diplomas were won by the club the outstanding performance Fred Steele in the Old Bird Derby from Dinard, France and the INFC Young Bird nat Penzance kept his and the clubs name in the forefront of the years best racing feats.

Tribute was paid by the Chairman to the support afforded him by the officials of the club – Treasurer W Garrett, Secretary A Young, and Pools Secretary Thompson McDowell. Eighteen of the 20 flying members had prize money to collect. Rainey & Russell with 4 x 1sts, had a very good year, and won the Young Bird Average Cup. P McManus won the Breeders Exchange Cup and J Young Cup for the Best Ave over the two Haverfordwest races, Tosh Balmer won the Knock-Out Cup and Shield. The Old Bird Average was taken by F Steele and the Points Cup was won by Rainey & Russell.

On behalf of the club the Chairman thanked the Mayor for his generosity after which Mrs Leckey was asked to present the prize money, while EG himself handed out the diplomas. The final words were from John Kyle who thought the performance of the Ahoghill Flying Club members was rapidly improving. This concluded the speeches and a very good band kept all on their feet to the “wee small hours”. Gifts for the spot prizes were collected by the veteran himself Bob Rainey and on behalf of the club I as Chairman would like to thank Bob and all the fantastic business people of the village, for their generosity and the Mayor for his beautiful and much appreciated trophy.

A final reminder about the Michelin Racing Pigeon Clubs Show tonight (Wednesday Jan 12th) Eye-sign for 1976 birds to be held in the Ballymena & District HPS Clubrooms at Fountain Place in the town.

The Champions League Diploma won by Ahoghill Flying Club in 2019 by Mr & Mrs Robinson.
F Adams (l) holding Blue cock 2nd Open Ulster Federation Dinard 1976 with J Adams holding Blue hen 1st Open INFC and Kings Cup Rennes 1976.
The famous Kings Cup being presented by the previous season winner Sam Topping (left) to the Adams Brothers Francis and Jack. Looking on (second right) Nelson Corry Chairman of the Irish National Flying Club.