First race planned for Mullingar

Pat McLaughlin Secretary of Maiden City celebrates after 1st Open NIPA Roscrea 2012 and the R Harkness Cup.
Pat McLaughlin Secretary of Maiden City celebrates after 1st Open NIPA Roscrea 2012 and the R Harkness Cup.

Despite the weather its moving closer to the start of the Old Bird racing, first race is planned for Saturday 14th April when the NIPA birds will be in Mullingar.

The end of March is the deadline for the return of all clocks and race sheets etc. Ballymena & District members can return these to the clubroom on Monday, 26th March at 8.00pm when members will get a report on the NIPA Sect B Meeting.

Cullybackey HPS clubrooms will be open on Friday, 30th March for the return of clocks, race sheets, vaccination forms etc. in preparation for the new racing season. Any member needing race sheets contact Edrick Davidson. Rasharkin & District HPS will have a meeting on Friday night, 23rd March at 7.00pm. Agenda: Race sheets for manual clock members, vaccination sheets etc. The deadline for membership of the INFC is Thursday, 12th April, fee is £15.00 for existing members including any member transferring to your club that were members of the INFC in 2017 season. For new members the fee is £25.00, remember the deadline it’s 12th April! Application forms for individual members can be downloaded from the website

INFC Race programme 2017: Skibbereen Old Bird Inland National Tuesday 23rd May; Sennen Cove Yearling National Wednesday 7th June; Grand National Kings Cup St Allouestre Friday 30th June; Friendship National Quimper Friday 7th July; Penzance Young Bird National Wednesday, 6th September; Skibbereen Young Bird National Saturday, 16th September. All the local clubs should apply for distances regarding the new race points for the NIPA – Brest is Code 5126 and Dunmanway Code 6032. That for Ballymena lofts will mean 452 Miles for Brest and 248 Miles for Dunmanway which is directly above Skibbereen.

INFC Motions: The single item on the AGM agenda was to change the YB Grand Nat from Penzance to Bude, although the proposer Noel Lusty was absent the fact the meeting date was changed at short notice the motion was allowed to go forward. Opinions were expressed on both points and when put to the vote the members were reluctant to change, for Bude 12, against Bude 23. Most of the older members remember Bude was flown before, and I checked back the records, races were before my time racing. Bude was flown in 1963 and the winners were a top Ballymena loft of Gray & Lowry, I think they finished 3rd as well winning velocity was 1006. 1964 was Milford Haven won by Smyth Bros of Ballymena velocity 1284, it was Bude again in 1965 won by E Herron & Son Holywood velocity 879, then Cork in 1966 won by J & W Machie of Belfast just over a mile a minute. Penzance was first flown in 1976 and was won in Mid Antrim yet again, Campbell & Francey were to dominate for many seasons in Harryville.

The Ballymena and Dist HPS will hold a very select draft of 2018 YB’S to be sold by public auction on Saturday, 14th April in Ballymena Clubrooms, the sale will take place on the same night as the Mid Antrim Combine Champions League and Knock-out draws are made. More details will follow in the coming weeks. Most of the YB’S to be sold will be off Combine winners at Club and National level from our very own members. The very best bloodlines will be on offer, any commission bids can be made to Martin Graham on Tel: 07835 099155.

The Annual General Meeting of Mid Antrim Combine was held on Wednesday 14th March 2018 in the Ballymena & District HPS Clubrooms at Fountain Place, Ballymena. Two Delegates from each member club were able to vote on the business. Agenda was with each club prior to the meeting.

Chairman Jackie Steele opened the meeting and Secretary Willie Reynolds read the minutes of the previous AGM. All member clubs were represented and we had apologies from K Wilkinson who was on NIPA Business and R Alexander. The Accounts were passed and the club funds are now with Slemish n’ tha Braid Credit Union in Harryville. At the end of the season we had £324 lodged, fees for 2018 will be as last year Clubs £3.00 and Associate Members £5.00. For the election of officers Jackie Steele was returned as Chairman and Willie Reynolds as Secretary, James Harris will look after the result each week and the various competitions. Main sponsor Danny Dixon was thanked for all his support over the last two seasons and he was installed as President. The annual presentation will rotate among the member clubs and Rasharkin & Dist will host the event in 2018.

Mid Antrim Combine – Rules to apply from 2017

1. Majority vote in each club to secure MAC Club Membership, before application in writing to MAC Secretary.

2. Management Committee MAC – 2 Delegates from each member club.

3. Associate Members welcome from eligible clubs that were former members in the MAC.

4. Fees for 2017 – Clubs £3.00, Associate Members £5.00. Fees set at each AGM.

5. AGM – The Annual Meeting to take place in middle of March each year.

6. Officials to be elected annually, to include Chairman, Secretary & RPRA Delegates.

7. Accounts to be approved at each AGM.

8. Diplomas to be issued for winner of each race INFC & NIPA (Only 1 Diploma per loft).

9. The published result will be Member Club x 3.

10. Best results each year to be submitted to RPRA (Irish Region) for their consideration.

11. INFC Trophy to be calculated on Points.

12. Cup & Trophies for competition by Clubs & Membership.

Old Bird Inland Average, Cross Channel Average, Old Bird Average, McIlhagga Memorial Cup for 1st MAC in NIPA Old Bird Nat, B Eagleson Memorial Cup best average Talbenny (1) & (2), Bude & Penzance, Tommy Shanks Memorial Cup Old Bird of the Year, Les Mairs Old Bird Fancier of the Year, Herbison Young Bird Average, New North Cup best Average Bude OB & Talbenny YB, Parker Cup Combined Average, INFC Cup and Young Bird of the Year.

Club Points Shield for Old Birds & Young Birds, Champions League, and Old Birrd & Young Bird Individual Loft Knock-Out. We finally got a set of Rules as had been passed at a previous AGM and they explain the terms of membership and list all the various awards to be raced for.

Clubs that had left would have been able to re-join in 2017 under the old terms and conditions, in the future lofts only with a Ballymena Address will be eligible for membership. We are still a bit short on total membership but it should rise up again this season, already confirmed from Harryville we have Allen McBride and J Millar & Son adding to the Associate Members from last season G Gibson, D Houston & Son, T & M Morrow and A Purvis, and all members should enjoy the competition. Member clubs will need to supply the list of lofts racing old birds so they can all be included in the Knock-Out competition. The draw for this and the Champions League will be made in Ballymena over the weekend of the first race.

The RPRA (Irish Region) held an Appeal Meeting on Saturday 17th March in the Templeton Hotel in Templepatrick, President Sam Briggs was in the chair. Apology from G McDowell and members stood for a moments silence in respect of members deceased since the last meeting that included Angus Houston. Members attending included – S G Briggs President, J Burrows Vice President, R Reid Secretary, A C McGrugan, W Reynolds, G Delaney, W Knowles, T Griffith, F Russell, C O’Hare, A Thompson, N Lewis, D Suitters, N Higginson, T McNally.

Under correspondence a letter was read from the RPRA giving their decision on the recent appeal re Titanic HPS v NIPA. The text had been published in full in the BHW and was also on their website, the NIPA Secretary was also furnished with a letter.

You will be aware that over recent years the presence of Avian Influenza within domestic birds has resulted in the movement of certain domestic birds being restricted. This could potentially have a devastating impact on Pigeon racing and showing. However, to date Defra’s risk based approach in relation to pigeons has resulted in a limited impact on pigeon racing and showing. To strengthen this position a code of practice has been developed and agreed with Defra.

Please note that full compliance with the requirements of the General Licence for Bird Gatherings i.e. racing, marking, liberations, shows and multiple loft training is essential in maintaining limited restrictions. The code should supply all the information relevant to comply with the General Licence. You will note that within the code the RPRA are required to inform the APHA of all gatherings in relation to race marking.

Therefore please complete and return Appendix 1 within the code of practice, listing all marking stations within your organisation to RPRA HQ. Failure to comply with this will increase the risk of restrictions and may result in the cancellation of your race programme.

All clubs have now filled out the relevant form and this also applies to those who train birds on a small transporter, where birds are released having been collected from different lofts/clubs for training.