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“Dr Henk De Weerd” Ireland Bound  

Unfortunately I had to miss the INFC Kings Cup ring marking, the first ring marking I have missed this year as I only returned from Belgium on Tuesday evening after a super weekend, for which I must thank the Gibb & Byrne Stud for their generosity during my weekend away.

My father and I have been in discussions for a number of weeks now with Andrea Kilpatrick and her colleague Neil from Tern TV who are putting together a documentary on the sport of pigeon racing with the hope that it will be commissioned by the BBC for viewing, so for anybody who was at the Kings Cup ring marking and noticed all the camera activity this is what it was all about. We are also hoping to have further discussions over the next few weeks and no doubt will maybe be calling to see a few fanciers at their lofts.

** Further news on the documentary mentioned, had a telephone call from Ken Wilkinson of Antrim who has informed me that he was actually in talks with the team above also and was on hand to welcome them to the Kings Cup ring marking, Ken has been involved for many years now in having the sport of pigeon racing promoted in what ever possible way he can and has conducted many talks to different groups from school children to senior citizens over the years and during the recent Bird Flu problems last year he was also very actively involved in important meetings with the ministry working to protect the interests of the pigeon fancy reference restrictions and everything else. Away from meetings he also can race pigeons in partnership with his son Ryan and retired building contractor Victor McDonald, in fact I had a loft profile on this racing partnership published on the front page of the Racing Pigeon a couple of years ago, this same article like all the ones that I compile can still be read on www.pigeonnetwork.com under the banner of The Masterful Wilkinson. Neil from Tern TV has been in contact with my father once again via email which reads :- Hi Willie, Thank you so much for all of your help including last week, its was very good of you to introduce us to all of the key players in the pigeon racing circles, all very valuable. It looks like the BBC won't go with the idea but we're going to keep it on the back burner for a while, we may need to think of a different angle and re-submit the idea. It is however something we are still quite keen on doing. If its ok with you Willie, I'd like to keep you on my contacts list and maybe we can re-visit the documentary idea soon. All the best and hopefully will speak soon! Neil. Well no joy this time but it is very encouraging to see that Tern TV are still very interested on this type of project with any publicity with regards the sport of pigeon racing always very welcome.

**   As mentioned above I had a class weekend away and called at many Champion Lofts and handled scores of class pigeons with some making their way back to Ireland, you can be sure of a few exceptional loft profiles to follow over the coming weeks, also had some lunch with Dr Henk De Weerd and Guy Van der Auwera of Belgica De Weerd and tidied up all the details concerning this years www.pigeonnetwork.com Quiz Nights of the Year as Henk is the main guest at both events in Ballyclare Comrades Football Club on Friday 24th of October and also at The Sarsfield RPC, Ballyfermot, Dublin on Monday 27th of October. The De Weerd team are already looking forward to meeting up with the fanciers in Ireland and hope to answer as many questions as possible concerning the ever growing subject of sickness, and more importantly the future of pigeon health. It is already promising to be once again another super weekend and I will keep the fancy informed closer to the time with all the details concerning both events, you can be sure tickets will be at a premium. Once again we will also have an impressive array of gift birds to be auctioned at the events both North and South and we will also be issuing a Balance Sheet shortly just to keep you the fancy informed on all that has been achieved since taking over the non-profit making website, all of which wouldn‘t be possible without the help of both you the fancier, and our many supporters, especially across Ireland.

My first port of call on my return on Tuesday evening was to the Glengormley based loft of D & J Campbell & Bigger who are racing superbly this year. I called to handle their NIPA Sennen Cove Classic winner “ Fernlea Lad” this super racing pigeon not only won the Classic race but also tops the NIPA Open. Hugh and David were telling me that they lifted him the night of basketing 3 times twice putting him back, they openly admit that when you have a good racer up Ireland you can so easily lose them from such a sticky race point such as Sennen Cove. He was in exceptional form having dropped his first flight and was the last pigeon selected to represent the loft in the race and what a descision it turned out to be. Previously this year he was the lofts second arrival from Mallow Five Bird finishing 16th Section C finishing 112th Open also in the NIPA Yearling cocks National he was the lofts 1st arrival finishing 3rd Section C and 12th Open NIPA. Last year this same pigeon GB 07F 34773 was 33rd Open in the Rosscarbery NIPA Y/B National. Now the bit I enjoy most the pedigree, well he is bred from a Blue cock GB 05F 15992 who in fact is the lofts NIPA Open Winner from Tullamore, he in turn is off Legiest Janssen Cock sourced from Alan Brown of Dunedin when mated to a hen purchased from the Ace Stock man Dickey Smyth of the Shankill namely Belg 99 3012452. Now the Tullamore Open winner was paired to a Black Hen GB 03F 21175 to produce this latest Open winner for the partnership from Sennen Cove now the Black Hen is a double Section winner herself scoring 1st Section 4th Open Rosscarbery Y/B National in 2003 and 1st Section 10th Open Rosscarbery 2005 she is off a Wildermeesch cock from John Wilson of Doagh when mated to GB 02 D 02628 again John Wilson Bloodlines which is also the Dam of the NIPA Y/Bird of the Year in 2004 for the D & J Campbell loft.
What class bloodlines in this Classic Winner but it is not alone for the Campbell & Bigger lofts host quite a few champions for instance “The Wee Hen” GB 04 F 22723 NIPA Y/B of the Year and RPRA Award Winner. Sire of this one is SHU 02 596 a Hartog purchased at the sale held in Glenavy for the A & M Kerr team from Scotland this cock was mated to the hen mentioned previously from John Wilson of Doagh. GB 02 D 02628. “The Wee Hen” won the following 3rd NIPA Open Area Liberation, 19th Section 90th Open Kilkenny, 3rd Section 15th Open Tramore, 3rd Section 10th Open Tullamore and 4th Section 7th Open Rosscarbery National. Now at stock mated to Belg 03 3197384 this being a Roman Kint cock brought into the country by Dickey Smyth once again, together as a pair they have produced countless winners including this year a 2nd NIPA Section C Pilmore Beach and a 9th NIPA Section C Bude. Next in the profile we have “Captain Jack” named after Davy’s late father Jack Campbell. “Captain Jack” was the NIPA O/B Of The Year in 2006 and when you consider the names that race in Northern Ireland based NIPA this is some achievement, he won 4th Section C 4th Open NIPA Tullamore, 4th Section 10th Open NIPA Pilmore Beach, 7th Section 28th Open Talbenny and 10th Section 25th Open Rosscarbery. Now if he were mine that would have merited a place in the stock loft but know on he went and in 2007 he won 1st Section 28th Open Pilmore Beach (1) and 2nd Section 8th Open NIPA Pilmore Beach (2). Now his breeding Sire a Blue cock sourced from Dickey Smyth of the Shankill namely Camiel Boffel breeding, when mated to what is now known as the “Cosworth Stud Hen” purchased at the sale held by them in Northern Ireland it being of the Jim Smith Wildemeesch lines. This same hen mated now with Legiest Janssen Cock of Alan Brown has produced many winners including this year 2nd Section C NIPA Rosscarbery and 2nd Section C NIPA Yearling Cocks National. Another winner is “Fernlea Birthday Boy” he won the Open in the NIPA Y/B Mallow 5 Bird Race 2007, he is bred from a double Section winning widowhood cock GB 05 F 34779 who scored 1st Section Tullamore and 1st Section Fermoy this containing the bloodlines of Angle Bros Hen when mated to the cock supplied by Alan Brown of Dunedin, when mated to a half sister of the above cock. Now we move onto “Fernlea Broken Keel” Blue Cheq Cock GB 06 F 27573 he is off a Leo Van Rijn cock purchased from Fountainhead when mated to a Roman Kint hen brought into the country by Dickey Smyth of the Shankill as a Y/Bird this cock finished 3rd Section 15th Open Pilmore Beach, in 2007 he finished 7th Section C 13th Open Rosscarbery O/B Inland National and went on to complete a good couple of weeks winning 6th Open Skibbereen O/B National INFC and 4th Section 15th Open Yearling cock National NIPA in 2008 he was to finish 10th Section Pilmore Beach, 88th Open Skibbereen O/B National INFC and 6th Section 25th Open NIPA Sennen Cove Classic. To finish off what is an absolute gold mine of a racing loft is a Blue Pied Hen GB 07 F 34864 last year as a Y/Bird she was the first pigeon to the loft in the Rosscarbery Y/B National finishing 16th Open starting the O/Bird season in 2008 she arrived from her first race Tullamore injured taking a few weeks off she was put back onto the road from Rosscarbery was the lofts 2nd arrival finishing 12th Section C NIPA she was also in the money from the Mallow Five Bird event and crowned off a good year by finishing 1st Section 2nd Open NIPA Yearling Hens National she is bred from GB 04 B 02438 who is a G/Son of “Iron Lady” this cock purchased at the clearance sale of John Greenaway, he was mated to the good Angle Bros Hen GB 05 F 15427 and if you look at the ring number this is a full sister to the cock that reared the Y/Bird Mallow Open Winner a half sister of this Blue Pied racing hen was 59th Open from Lamballe with the NIPA a couple of weeks ago. I could go on and on such is the substance of pigeons within the inform loft in Section C of the NIPA this year.

  Must also congratulate Mark Maguire and son on winning the NIPA O/B National which was flown while I was away in Belgium an excellent family of pigeons the Maguire family have recently documented in an article which is displayed on www.pigeonnetwork.com. I got news when in Belgium of their arrival and made contact with Malachy straight away who told me that son Mark was over the moon the winning pigeon now named "Glenhill Lass" a 2 year old she is direct from “Portavogie Lass” who won the Millar Gold Cup this being the only bird into Ireland in 1996 from Dinard in France for Palmer & Young of Portavogie when mated to a red cheq cock purchased from David Goddard of Reading who has an impeccable record racing from the distance. Mark has already enjoyed success in this race in partnership with his father Malachy with Champion "Home Alone" he again was the only pigeon on the day flying 15 & 1/2 hours on the wing, no surprising that he was mated to "Portavogie Lass" and they produced many champion pigeons including the two listed below.  

“NO PROBLEM” won a total of 11 individual firsts - in the INFC 2005 he was 1st Club, 1st 3 Bird Club, 1st North/South Federation, 3rd North Section, 4th Open Picauville O/B National. Next it was sent to the Portland O/B National with the NIPA 1st Club, 1st 3 Bird Club, 1st North/South Federation, 2nd Section G, 26th Open on top of that he has also a 1st Section Diploma flying with the NIPA. “MOONLIGHT LASS” winner of 1st Open Single Bird Challenge INFC Messac Kings Cup (481 miles) 2005 finishing 17th North Sect & 19th Open, only 108 birds home. I also feel for my good friends Glen and Johny Buckley (G Buckley & Son) who just about have the measure of this race, they finish 2nd Open having previously won this race 3 times out of the last 4 years up until this years race which they nearly won again, how is that for racing, quite frankly outstanding. I will be catching up with all the section winners from the O/B National race for a race profile soon. But very well done to everybody who timed especially the pigeons gaining Bronze, Silver or Gold diplomas.  

Also extended congratulations to G McGowan & Son of the Grosvenor who had the only bird on the day in the Ulster Federation from the O/Bird National St Malo proudly named “Brave Lady Alone” with a velocity of 939. Very well done on what was an exceptional bird on the day after a two day hold over.  

Also many congratulations to Geordie Calderwood and William Waite who timed the only 2 birds into the Shankill from the Ulster Federation Old Bird Derby from St Malo. What a record these boys have only once failing to time in 15 attempts from France some record flying some 450 miles into Glencairn. They timed their good Cheq cock that has had all races up to Bude and was the lofts favoured entry which will net them a few pound in pools and prize money, the second arrival was a Red Cheq cock that would surely win any handling class again well pooled and looks good for a sizeable payout. These boys would have to go down as French specialists given  the record that they have and I look forward to see what next year has in store.

North/south Federation St Malo Result - 1st Mark Maguire & Son Newry & District 1186,  2nd Donnelly Bros Newry City 929, 3rd Mark Maguire & Son Newry & District 903, 4th  Malachy Maguire & Son Newry & District 887, 5th Malachy Maguire & Son Newry &  District 616, 6th R McMinn & Son Bessbrook 600, 7th  Malachy Maguire & Son Newry & District 586, 8th Donnelly Bros Newry City 529, 9th Malachy Maguire & Son Newry & District 407.   North/South Federation Sennen Cove Result - 1st G Hughes Newry & District 1382, 2nd  G Hughes Newry & District 1355, 3rd  Donnelly Bros Newry City 1353, 4th K Byrne & Son Newry & District 1326, 5th  T Mooney & Son Newry City 1322, 6th K & H Young Newry City 1293, 7th M Maguire & Son Millvale 1283, 8th M Maguire & Son Millvale 1273, 9th  M Fagan & Son Millvale 1364, 10th  G Dixon Newry & District 1262,11th  A Curran Millvale 1258, 12th  Donnelly Bros Newry City 1238, 13th M Fagan & Son Bessbrook 1232, 14th  D Carroll Millvale 1226, 15th  B Jones Millvale 1222, 16th  Mark Maguire & Son Newry & District 1174, 17th  K Larkin Newry & District 1169, 18th Donnelly Bros Newry City 1169, 20th P McAteer Millvale 1166.   

The INFC Management Committee met in Lisburn on Sunday 6th of July and decided to bring the Kings Cup pigeons back to Ireland at the earliest possible opportunity. The convoy will be liberated in Rosslare, County Wexford area, weather permitting ASAP after their return, possibly Tuesday. This decision was based on the report from the Convoyer Jim McCrory who has a vast amount of experience and the problems with the weather over the route. The birds were race marked last Tuesday and Friday 4th July was the planned day for release. Poor weather conditions over the race route caused a delay and over the next two days weather at the home end was a problem as well. It was also the decision, by the overwhelming majority of Committee Members present, that in the interests of the Kings Cup race, that they should work towards facilitating a substitute Kings Cup race from St Malo towards the end of July, start of August 2008. As with regards this weeks impending ring marking for the Quimper Friendship National (Tuesday), it was also agreed that Lib Line would be updated daily with information as to when a liberation in France would be possible, and the subsequent ring marking taking place. Keep in touch Tel: INFC Lib Line (09063) 656701 or (0901) 9960111 and at www.pigeonnetwork.com  

The INFC had a massive entry of 2,585 birds for the Kings Cup the best entry for a number of years and for the second year on the trot the birds have been returned from France, last time it was the Bird Flu problems. Now we have weather problems to add to everything else and we are in the summer time. The loss of this particular race is a major disappointment after the effort in getting so many of the previous years entries set up once again for the greatest test in Irish pigeon racing circles. The committee were left in a hopeless no win position and made the safe decision. Should the substitute Kings Cup race take place we will be moving into new ground with a distance race from France at this time of the year, if it was a success it could well change the programme in future years and we might just see an over-lap of the longest old bird races and the start of the young bird season.

The Fanciers Combine – Robert Major ended the old bird season on a high after winning 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th in the final race from Roscrea, his winner was bred by Colin Gibson.   Roscrea – R Major 1885, 1884, 1884 Nom, 1883, M Brown 1880, 1880, T Wilson 1877, G O’Dowd 1832, G Douglas 1817, W Neill 1773.   The programme and plans are in place for the first young bird season with the following. Tullamore (1) 16th July sponsored by Mourne road Auto-Point Lurgan, Tullamore (2) 23rd July sponsored by W Neill & Sons Building Contractors, Roscrea (1) 30th July sponsored by D Hanlon Landscapes Lurgan and Harmony Lofts (Hot Spot), Roscrea (2) 6th August sponsored by Glen Hilary Motors and Harmony Lofts (Hot Spot), Roscrea (3) 13th August sponsored by A1 Autos Dromore, Roscrea (4) 20th August sponsored by Harkers Pet Life, Clonmel Open Race (all fanciers welcome) sponsored by McCausland Seeds Banbridge, Clonmel YB Derby (Sect E fanciers) sponsored by Bleary Service Station. Fanciers must have completed in half of the 2008 young bird race programme to compete for prize money. All pigeons will be rung/race marked at Edgarstown HPS Clubrooms commencing at 6.30pm the night prior to race date, unless otherwise stated. Fanciers can purchase their own crates at £5. The Open Race & Derby crate costs, see entry form.

The Belgium loft of Van Hove has an impeccable breeding and racing history dating back 40 years and currently there is no better racing lofts in Belgium than the Van Hove Family pictured from the (L) Geert Van Hove, Mit Van Hove, Ian Gibb representing the Gibb & Byrne Stud Ireland, Peggy and Gust Van Hove.   

Adie McCormick (Pigeonnetwork.com) Dr Henk De Weerd, Ian Gibb (Gibb & Byrne Stud) and Guy Van der Auwera of Belgica De Weerd enjoying a spot of Lunch in Holland.  

The Shankill based partnership of Geordie Calderwood and Willie Waite have scored again from France with the only two birds in the Club from the Ulster Federation St Malo O/B Derby.  


Tommy Tosh has had a super season racing into the Shankill area of Belfast flying that has seen him top the Club on 5 occasions this season alone.  

Alan Lindores needs no introduction a superb racer any year this year having already topped the West Belfast Club 4 times in the O/Bird season.  

Hugh Bigger & Davy Campbell (D & J Campbell & Bigger) winners of 1st Open NIPA Sennen Cove Classic and the inform NIPA Section C loft this year.  

Dicky Smyth from the Shankill a class stock man and supplier of prize winning stock to the D & J Campbell & Bigger partnership.  

Mark Maguire and Son of Newry & District collecting awards in February at the North/South Federation prize distribution from Rose McCormick. The loft won the NIPA O/B National from St Malo last weekend.  

The crew from Tern TV interviewing Mr Ronnie Johnston about his history with the INFC during the Kings Cup Ring Marking last Tuesday Andrea and Neil hope to have their documentary commissioned for viewing by the BBC, Homer and Adie will keep all you readers informed how it progresses.

Adie McCormick
Ireland’s Own Pigeon Auctions
Email celestiallofts@aol.com
Tel 028 92604778.



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