Ballymena and District classes put judges through the wires this week

The second week for Ballymena and District had classes for Young Cock and Young Hen judges through wires.

Darren Swann won the Yearling Cock at Ballymena and District also BIS
Darren Swann won the Yearling Cock at Ballymena and District also BIS

Brian Herbison from Cullybackey penned the winner in the Young Hens lifting BIS while George Eagleson had the Red Card in the Young Cocks.

The judges were John McConaghie and Robert Alexander. Young Cocks T/W – 1st G and A Eagleson, 2nd Blair and Rankin, 3rd and Commended C Moore, 4th and HC T McFall, Reserve and VHC W and N Gilbert. Young Hens T/W – 1st , 3rd and Reserve and Commended B Herbison, 2nd W and N Gilbert, 4th G and A Eagleson, VHC D Mitchell, HC Blair and Rankin. The raffle was won by W Gilbert.

For week three of the show season judges travelled in from Cullybackey, Sammy Steele and Gary Gibson placed the cards for Yearling Cock and Yearling Hen. It was a good night for the home club with Darren Swann 1st and 2nd in the Yearling Cocks, also BIS Special and R Service and Son lifting the Red Card in Yearling Hen. Billy Smyth won the raffle. Yearling Cocks T/W (54 birds) – 1st, 2nd, VHC, HC and Commended D Swann, 3rd and 4th W and N Gilbert, Reserve B Herbison. Judge Gary Gibson. Yearling Hen T/W (51 birds) – 1st and Reserve R Service and Son, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, VHC, HC and Commended W and N Gilbert. Judge Sammy Steele. Week four was Monday, November 18, a very cold night and the best turn out to date with a good entry of 165 birds penned for the judges who travelled from Muckamore, David Young and Bobby Bethel. W and N Gilbert won both classes and had Best in Show and Brian Herbison had the Best Young Bird. Nicola Gilbert won the raffle. Any Age Hen (70 Birds) – 1st, 2nd, 4th, VHC and HC W and N Gilbert, 3rd T McFall, Reserve and Commended B Herbison. Any Age Cock (95 Birds) – 1st, Reserve, HC and Commended W and N Gilbert, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and VHC B Herbison.

Cookstown presentation from around 1990. P Hammond, J Sampson, K Murphy, D Abbot, V Thom (now 85), B McConnell, J Speirs. Front row, T Campbell, the late Sam Mitchell and G Morton

Dates and classes Ballymena and District - penning is from 7.15pm. Old pairs and young pieds, November 25, Young pairs and old pieds 2nd December, Reds, Mealy’s and Grizzles old bird and young bird December 9. Young bird eye-sign and Old bird eye-sign December. 16 We usually have a BIS Special each week. The annual Open Show is on Wednesday, January 1, 2020 penning from 11am. Usual prizes and many specials including BIS, BOS, Most Points and Best Young Bird.

Broughshane HPS: Old Cocks T/W – 1st, 2nd, 3rd, Reserve and HC W and N Gilbert, 4th and Commended D Swann, VHC R and S Swann. A great result for W and N Gilbert of Ballymena, congratulations to all the card winners. Broughshane HPS: Old Hens T/W - 1st J and J Greer, 2nd, 3rd and HC C Kennedy, 4th, Reserve and Commended M Neilly, VHC R and S Swann. Judge Sammy Leitch (Doagh and District). Thanks to Jamie -Leigh for supplying the delicious cake which was enjoyed by all. Broughshane HPS: Young Hens T/W - 1st, 2nd and 3rd C Kennedy, 4th, Reserve and HC R and S Swann, VHC J Getty, Commended M Neilly. A super result for Colin Kennedy 1st, 2nd and 3rd. Well done. Judge: Fred Simpson ( Doagh HPS). Raffle winner J Getty. The club would like to thank Fred and Sammy for their kind donation of £20 for the 1st bird timed from Bude in 2020.

Ahoghill Flying Club show season started on Fridat night, D and R Turkington from Doagh and Dist wins both classes, the judges from Muckamore were David Young and Bobby Bethel. Young Cocks T/W – 1st D and R Turkington, 2nd, 4th and HC B Herbison, 3rd C Moore, Reserve T McFall, VHC J Orr and Son, Commended T Whyte. Young Hens T/W 1st, 4th and Reserve D and R Turkington, 2nd and 3rd V Montgomery, VHC B Herbison HC T Whyte, Commended C Moore. The raffle was won by Thomas McFall. Ahoghill Flying Club: Old Cocks T/W – 1st J Orr and Son, 2nd, HC and Commended T and G Balmer, 3rd and Reserve B Herbison, 4th W Livingstone, VHC T McFall. Old Hens T/W – 1st and 2nd B Herbison, 3rd, 4th, Reserve and VHS T McFall, HC T and G Balmer, Commended J Orr and Son. The judges travelled over from Rasharkin, Harold Cubitt and Jimmy Robinson. Raffle winner Robert Turkington. Classes last Friday were for the young birds handled, judged by local fancier Chris Young. Visitor Brian Herbison from Cullybackey had 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the Young Cocks while Secretary of Ahoghill Chris Moore penned a lovely Blue w/f to collect the Red Card in Young Hens. Young Cocks Handled – 1st, 2nd, 3rd, VHC and HC B Herbison, 4th W Livingstone, Reserve T and G Balmer, Commended J Orr and Son. Young Hens Handled – 1st C Moore, 2nd, 3rd, 4th Reserve and VHC B Herbison, HC J Orr and Son, Commended T and G Balmer. Raffle was won by Thomas McFall. Ahoghill Flying Club dates are on the Friday as usual 22nd November OC and OH Handled, 29th November Young Pairs and Fancy, 6th December Old Pairs and Late Bred, 13th Dec OB and YB Eye-sign.

Rasharkin and District HPS will be holding their first show of the season on Saturday 23rd November. Old bird 3 in 1 - Penning 11 to 12 all welcome. Cullybackey HPS this year have opted for just two show nights with four classes each week and the annual open show as usual three in one on Saturday, December 14. Saturday, November 30 has Old Bird and Young Bird Through Wires and one week later on Saturday, December 7 Old Bird and Young Bird Handled.

G and P O’Dowd collect awards at the ISRF Presentation in Sarsfield PRC. Photo Eddie Barry

5/11/19 Lurgan Social 2nd show results from tonight. 1st Keelie Wright, 2nd K Henderson, 3rd K Henderson, 4th K Douglas, Reserve R Adamson, Vhc E Wright and Son, Hc and Commended Keelie Wright. Bestyoung bird Kevin Henderson. Well done to card winners and thanks to Sam Shaw for judging. 11/11/19 Lurgan Social 3rd show result. 1st, Reserve and VHC Marty Rice, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and HC Kevin Henderson, Commended Kevin Douglas. Best Young Bird penned by Kevin Henderson. Many thanks to Gregory McEvoy for judging the class. Show 4 18/11/19 – 1st and 3rd K Henderson, 2nd, 4th, HC and Commended Keelie Wright, Reserve K Douglas, VHC B Carson. Best YB Keelie Wright.

INFC charity show – The 42nd annual charity show will be held in the Lisburn Leisure Complex on Saturday, December 7 opening at 9am. Once again there will be classes for Racing Pigeons along with the Variety Pigeons and Show Racers. Classes are three in one Old Birds and three in one Young Birds. Penning of the birds is from 9am until 11.30am, please note the show is open to all lofts. Anyone entering Show Racers at the INFC show in Lagan Valley Leisure Complex Lisburn on Saturday please get your entries to John Edgar by Wednesday prior. The sale of birds will start at 4pm in Studio 1 and 2, next to the main trade stand hall. As usual there will be many outstanding birds from the elite of lofts in Ireland. Helen Marshall will be looking after the raffle as usual, books have been sent to most clubs. Top prize will be a Kit of 2020 youngsters from the Ace loft of Ian Gibb and Son from Glenavy and District. The centre has a top class restaurant with good menu and keen prices to suit everyone, car parking at the leisure centre is free. Check out the Irish National flying club website for their charity sale birds at the show, nearer the time. The best of stock for the future, many top breeders have been purchased here. For further information and details contact Samuel Briggs the show administrator, telephone: 07730 308402. The annual dinner and prize presentation for the INFC will be held in the Stormont Hotel in Belfast on Friday, November 29, David Black is running the raffle and committee members should bring a prize and any others wishing to donate a prize we would be more than grateful.

G and P O’Dowd of Ballybrack – ISRF Cross Channel Champions 2019

I took a trip up to the loft of Peter and Gavin O’Dowd of Ballybrack club in South Dublin to get some info on their super season this year in the INFC , this father and son partnership have been flying a fantastic pigeon now especially on the channel for the past 10 years now. This year was there first year back in the ISRF after been in the East Coast Federation for a good time before now and what a way to start back racing in the INFC winning the cross channell average in their first year back racing in ISRF with what I would think is a record number of points for a channel average.

Robert Service won the Yearling Hen at Ballymena, judges Sammy Steele (left) and Gary Gibson

The lads’ main aim every year is the cross channel but this family of birds will win from anywhere as Peter told me.

Most of their best channel birds have all won on the land before the water so that’s always a sign of great pigeons in my opinion. The lads like to try keep the best part of their team fresh now for the water so they only raced about 30% of their team in the first five or six races this year and they then sent their team to Pilmore Beach the day of the first channel race and after that it’s all water.

All birds are raced on the natural system here now Peter told me they used to race the widowhood with great success also but prefers natural for the water now, and it’s certainly working.

Once the water starts Peter tells me they general don’t race the land then as in Peter’s words he’d prefer have them on the water to try win the open rather than down the land. The first channel race of the year the lads started like a house on fire having five in the top 20 of the ISRF Open and 11 in the top 100 been Fancier of the Week in Irish South Road Fed that particular week.

It didn’t stop there as week after week the lads were bang there in every race winning the 3 Penzance races and 2nd in the 2 Talbenny events in the old birds.

Most will know the Ballybrack club, there’s not many harder clubs about to win a channel race in as there is loads of top channel flyers in the club so to have that record in 1 season, and that’s most seasons if I’m honest, takes some doing.

The icing on the cake this year for the lads was winning 1st ISRF Penzance open, the lads have some real gems in their loft and in some of the pics included you can see all multiple first prize winners on land and cross channel. Gavin is holding the money maker in picture above, now this pigeon is a machine you would find it hard to find a better pigeon anywhere in Dublin, or Ireland for that matter.

This pigeon went on a winning streak in 2017 over a five week period he won 4500k in prize and pool money, he won Rosscarbery the week before the channel, and then didn’t stop there and went on to be right up at the top of the open result from Talbenny, Talbenny, Bude, and Penzance four weeks on the trot winning great money for the lads.

He was also ECF Bird of the Year and IHU Bird of the Year in 2017.

Already his children are doing the damage on the water for the lads and others who were lucky enough to get something from this lad.

Peter also told me every pigeon in his loft must fly Penzance as a yearling or he doesn’t want it and from handling all the lads pigeons and seen the class they have for next year it will take something special to take this title off them.

The lads have also won the channel average in the new Tek channel club for the first two years it’s been running and also some great results this year from some other lofts as Lossey Lacey from my own club clocked a great pigeon this year from Saint Malo to win Sallynoggin and finish 8th Open with a bird bred from the lads so great all round birds but also managed great as the lads put 110% into their birds 365 days a year.

Well done lads another fantastic season and another 1st Open win to the list to top of a super season for your loft been ISRF Channel Champions in 2019m well done.