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Emerald Classic Gathering Momentum

With the Northern Ireland fancy sending some of the largest weekly birdages to any race and with so many One Loft Races around the world, I suppose it was only logical that the Emerald Classic would happen sooner or later and the more fanciers you talk to believe that this will be the way of racing in years to come. To add fuel to this theory I think about the housing Situation here in the north of Ireland since the Peace Agreement, they are building new housing everywhere, it is a trend that is sweeping Europe and you could say yes they are building mad here also, but to be fair the house building in Northern Ireland has dramatically went through the roof, with many of the old properties with a bit of land being snapped up, demolished and a few properties put in their place, if its not this example then they are finding 2, 3 or 4 old houses together offering a package to the current owners and  then demolishing these and replacing them incorporating their once spacious gardens with many houses. You are probably thinking why I am writing about this, well with so many old properties being demolished replaced with new custom built apartments or town houses with little or know back garden and most definitely a clause to prevent you keeping pigeons at your new bought property you can start to cage way the sport is not getting the new blood that it badly needs. You can be sure it is the younger generations that are buying these new purposes built developments. This is something that the One Loft Races offer to this particular section of our population, how many will use it who knows, but you can be assured the demolishing of old properties and the building of new purpose built ones will continue for many years to come.

Of course One loft racing offers so much to us, as already established pigeon enthusiasts. I have been caging people thoughts ever since the introduction here of the Emerald Classic One Loft race which is based in Ballylcare, Co.Antrim. The vast amount of fanciers I have spoken to are very much on for it with many already booking their place or places. Of course if you look at the statistics and entries with the already established events across the Irish Sea you can see that their already is a great interest and enthusiasm from the fanciers in Ireland towards this type of affair.

The man behind it all John Boyd needs no introduction to the fanciers here. John has been involved with pigeons for over 40 years and many in the mighty Section C of the NIPA were glad to see him retire from competitive competition in 1997 having yet again been crowned Section C Fancier of the Year, now this is when Section C on its own was sending anything from between 5,000 to 9,000 pigeons weekly. For the past 8 years John has concentrated his attentions to One Loft Races, and I recall him having a conversation many years ago with my father emphasizing that this would one day be the future of racing, I am now of the belief that he could very much be right. His enthusiasms for One Loft races has seen  him in South Africa with the Sun City Race, Las Vegas for their One Loft Race, both Holland and Hungary not forgetting annually attending the Europa Classic in Wales were this year the 1st Prize was won by a loft from Ireland namely Gibb & Byrne. John himself has been sending to these races for many years with prominent positions gained in all. So over-all there is no other fancier with this type of experience in Northern Ireland as far as one loft events are concerned as he has been at the heart beat of so many of the successful ones over the years.

The Assistant loft manager is a man known by many just not in this country but further a field namely Mr D B Mairs. Bernard was sadly missed from the sport of pigeon racing in Ireland when he put his clock in the cupboard for the last time some years ago. A prolific flyer for many years from all distances especially France. Bernard will look after the pigeons and will concentrate on the training aspects on the lead up to the ultimate final race from Rosscarbery flying some 260 miles to the purpose built loft in Ballyclare, Co.Antrim. The loft is equipped to hold 1,000 pigeons with many of those already filled entry is £125 per pigeon, so if you haven’t yet got your form and deposit in you would need to hurry they can be down loaded from www.pigeonnetwork.com or www.pigeonportal.com.

No stone has been left unturned in John’s desire to make this event work right down to the daily health of the pigeons which will see Dr F Scullion MVB, Phd, MRCVS assisted with Mrs G Scullion MVB, MRCVS, both proprietors of Veterinary Services in Ballygawley, Co.Tyrone they will when called upon look after the health of the pigeons on a daily basis. They Scullions provide fanciers in Ireland with Clinical, Diagnostic, Surgical, Post Mortem, Laboratory Veterinary Service and Treatments. Should you have any questions regarding the One Loft Race you can contact John Boyd on  028 93 322941 or 07799543334.

Busy Few Weeks

Over the last few weeks I have been busy going around a few of the shows I was invited to and also conducting a few Auctions both North and South of Ireland. Something I have noticed during my time in the South of Ireland is the excellent level of youth that is very evident in the pigeon racing scene. I have conducted a couple of sales over the last 3 weeks at the Sarsfield Racing Pigeon Club which is sited in the Ballyfermot side of Dublin. Before I go on I must make the fancy aware that the hospitality offered by everyone I came across was something else, and the warmth of appreciation from the fanciers for just taking some time out listening to what they had to offer and indeed what they were achieving racing within Dublin was something else. The fanciers in Northern Ireland can consider themselves very lucky indeed for the level of publicity they have received for many years, when you lift the weeklies each week you have pages from various scribes in the North for all the size of the country we are, but yet in the South of Ireland considerably larger we never see a regular column. Some of the scribes I have been speaking to in the South of Ireland tell me it’s a nightmare getting the news from the Clubs. I can add that it is no different in the North with the exception of a few Clubs, when you start off covering an area that has never been covered before, it takes repeated telephone calls every week to get the news, you have to be dedicated and have a never say die attitude (plenty of your own money and time as well helps). Of course many hours are involved with very little appreciation for what you do, in fact as I am sure most scribes would agree you have a tendency to make more enemies than you do friends in this game. What spurs me on is the words once quoted from a famous boxer who was also a great Author “The power of the pen is far greater than that of the fist”.  

Roy Donaldson of the R & G & G Donaldson team has contacted me to let me know that they will have 2008 youngsters for sale from their impressive race team, this partnership have raced out of the skins in Section E of the mighty NIPA over the last couple of seasons winning some 33 x 1st Club's and a couple of Sections along the way always figuring prominently in the NIPA Open. Roy can be contacted on 028 38 338325 or 07751940985.   

The Lagan Valley RPC as usual held their very successful show this year on Thursday 27th December, this has become a very popular affair indeed and something the Club members and visitors look forward to each year, unfortunately it was the same day as my sale for the Boscheind Flyers or I would like some of the other members (not naming names) finished a drop of drink also. The judges this year were non other than Jeff Greenaway of the Grenaway & Leonard partnership, Sheldon unfortunately was unable to attend due to other commitments in Spain. Jeff was accompanied by Paul Hope, Eddie Murray and Eddie McGimpsey. With three classes to judge they soon were to work and after deliberations the following results were as follows :- Through Wires - 1st I Gibb & Sons, 2nd I Gibb & Sons, 3rd R & A Gore, 4th I Gibb & Sons, Res Spence Bros, VHC A Benson, HC Smyth & Adams, C R & A Gore. Handled - 1st Smyth & Adams, 2nd Spence Bros, 3rd R & A Gore, 4th D McShane & Son, Res. Smyth & Adams, VHC J & D Coburn & Sons, HC I Gibb & Sons, C D McShane & Son. Eye Sign - 1st R & A Gore, 2nd R & A Gore, 3rd Smyth & Adams, 4th R & A Gore, Res. I Gibb & Sons, VHC Smyth & Adams, HC D McShane & Son, C Spence Bros. BIS R & A Gore, BOS I Gibb & Sons.   Before the presentation Jeff Greenaway presented Lagan Valley Chairman Paul Frazor with a new Show Trophy. The members and quests then enjoyed a feed fit for any King with far more food than what was required superbly cooked and displayed by my mother in law Jean who seems to go one better every year. The Club would like to thank everybody who helped out in any way with the regards the Annual Show and wish all fellow fanciers an enjoyable 2008.  

Young Bird Sickness  

Young bird Sickness is a very common topic where ever you go at the minute, with many already fearing the worst in 2008. In all my time around pigeons particularly scribing 2007 was the worst I have ever come across.  I have only moved to the Lisburn area about 6 years ago and ordered a new loft from Liam Prunty about 4 years ago I must add that if any body requires a loft built you won’t find better. Cutting a long story short I joined the Largymore Inv HPS racing Y/Birds for a couple of seasons and both I am sad to say were blighted by the dreaded Y/B Sickness. So I have first hand experience I know how soul destroying it is, but on a recent visit to Ireland Mr Bill Cowell (Bilco) informed me he worked on formulating a Formula known as XEREK for the effects of Y/B sickness, and it has been so successful Dazer International have now started packaging and selling it. He has supplied me with a substantial batch of this product to which he assures me once people start to use it and see the results my hands will be hot come this Y/B season. So if you require any give me a ring on my mobile or leave a message on my answering machine at home. Although speaking from experience the wise man would have it now, rather than going looking for it when the problem rears its ugly head.  


The Balbriggan Annual Jimmy McIntyre Charity show was a great success again this year with fanciers coming from all over Ireland. There were some 358 birds entered across 6 classes, Class 1, Y/Bird T/Wires won by Drogheda Man Joe Sharkey. Class 2, O/Bird T/Wires won by Local Partnership Jimmy Guildea & Son Dessy, Whom also won Class 3, Young Cocks Handling. Class 4, Young Hens handling was also won by a local Partnership of Joe Kelly & Tommy Roy, who also won class 5, Old cocks Handling. Class 6, Old hens handling was won by our old Northern entrant the Partnership of B & A Brown & Shaw & W Shaw. Best in Show was won by Kelly & Roy with the boys also winning Best Opposite Sex, Well done boys. After the presentation we held a 2008 young bird auction with birds being donated both locally and from all over the Island of Ireland. This was a huge success and helped raise over half of the grand total for the charity. On Behalf of the club and indeed the family of Marcella O'Neill, I would like to thank all our entrants and fanciers whom donated young birds, well done to all the winners and the show committee for all their effort. The total raised for the Marcella O'Neill fund was over 2500 Euro which I'm sure will take a great weight from her Shoulders. Marcella's Brother John & Sister Anne arrived on the day and were presented with the Cheque.  

GLENGORMLEY Gold Ring 2008

GLENGORMLEY & DISTRICT HPS have decided to opt for a Gold Ring competition during 2008 rather than the usual Breeder & Buyer event. It will be open to all competing lofts in the NIPA and will have a guaranteed 1st Prize of £1,000. The overall prize list will be determined by the entry, rings will be £40 each. Race will be the Rosscarbery YB Inland National, and the closing date for entry is 30th June. All ring Numbers must be supplied by 19th July. Contact any of the following members for further information Hugh Bigger Tel: 07796 848484, David Campbell Tel: 07886 451205, Tommy Gratten Tel: 07831 678910.   BLACKPOOL Show of the Year   Ireland’s Own Pigeon Auctions have a number of sales booked for the Blackpool Show of the Year in the middle of January, Blackpool Football Club for Frans Van Wildemeersch on Friday 18th January with a Class Auction of 60+ Lots. It will be followed on Saturday at the Cliffs Hotel in the morning the Boscheind Flyers with an exceptional team of pigeons with sons and daughters of the National winners, this partnership for many years have always had a stall at the Show but this year they have chose to have a team Auctioned off by as they quote Ireland’s Leading Auctioneer. Then Saturday afternoon will see a  top class selection for the high flying Gibb & Byrne partnership owners of some of the best Soontjens in the World and who also won this seasons Europa Classic One Loft Race plus £30,000. Further info including Sale Lists, see www.pigeonnetwork.com or contact Adie on 07835709877.

BRICON ETS   As the Sales agent now for all Ireland any Club needing a hands on demonstration please contact Adie on 028 92604778 or mobile 07835709877. I will have the officials from Bricon over during February any club wishing to hold an information evening just give me a call remember Bricon is the No 1 System in the World and has been reinstated by the RPRA.
DUNDONALD 3B Challenge 2008

DUNDONALD 3 Bird Challenge exciting new race will be flown from the INFC Skibbereen North OB National. (North Section). £150 for three birds Nominated Ring Numbers and payment to Secretary L McKinstry before April 30th 2008. With expected support it is hoped to have a 1st Prize of £5,000. A beautiful new trophy donated by Gibb & Byrne will go to the winner. Include this race in your plans for 2008, for entry forms contact either L McKinstry 9 Brooklands Gardens Dundonald or B Foulis 1 Ardcarn Park Dundonald.  

GLENAVY Gold Wing Race 2008

GOLDEN WING Young Bird Open Race - organized again by Glenavy & District and main sponsor H Beattie & Son. Maximum 10 Rings at £10 each available from H Beattie & Son, John Withers on 07752 430972, Gordon Parker on 07734 235965, or any member of Glenavy & District HPS. More info later.  


SCOTTISH CLASSIC One Loft Race 2008 - Pleased to meet Veronica Byrne at the INFC Charity Show in Belfast and she is to keep us informed on the progress of the race. Her stall raffle winners were: 1st Free Entry to Scottish Classic One Loft Race was won by A Kelly Dublin. 141-145 White. 2nd Litre Bottle Whisky won by Ian Gill Ballymena. Pink 116-120. 3rd Bottle Whisky won by Sam Briggs Lisburn. White 56-60. Race details and entry form at www.scottishclassiconeloftrace.com


Ballymena AGM   The Ballymena & District HPS Annual General Meeting is a week earlier and will take place on Monday 4th February. Resolutions should be with the Secretary Willie Reynolds in writing no later than 21st January. The Annual Dinner and Prize Night is booked for the Adair Arms Hotel on Friday 4th January, members wishing to attend should contact any of the officials.   Pigeon Moot   The Doagh & District HPS Pigeon Moot will this time feature the Long Distance Racing and panel members will include former Kings Cup winners Alan Darragh (Cullybackey) and Anthony McDonnell (Coleraine Premier), RP Scribe Ronnie Johnston (Belfast), John Clements (England) and by popular demand Johnny Buckley (Annaghmore). The venue is McConnells of Doagh on Friday 11th January at 8.00pm, doors open at 7.30pm, tickets inc. Light Supper are £4. All fanciers welcome, the Quiz Panel will be chaired by Sid Collins from Ballyclare.

Show News   HARRYVILLE HPS final show of the year had two classes Fancy and Card Winners, judges were George McDowell and Roy Lorimer from Kells & District. Fancy (57 Birds)  1st, 2nd & Reserve J & B Balmer, 3rd W McIlveen & Son, 4th G Price, VHC & HC W & N Gilbert, Commended R & P Alexander. Card Winners (58 Birds)  1st & HC B Herbinson, 2nd & Commended A McBride, 3rd & VHC G Price, 4th W & N Gilbert, Reserve J Letters.  

The Laurelvale HPS annual Xmas Open Show was held the Saturday prior to the big day, the team of judges travelled from the Mid Antrim Area. They included Homer and Bertie Blair from Ballymena & District, Monty Magill from New Antrim and Gary Gibson from Cullybackey. The guests were welcomed by Chairman Jim Serplus and Secretary Robert Abraham. Around 170 birds were penned for the three main classes with Best in Show won by G & C Topley, T & K Mawhinney had Best Opposite Sex and Best YH was J Serplus and Best YC W McDowell. Geoff Topley won two classes Handled and Eyesign and T & K Mawhinney won Through the Wires. The Mawhinney loft almost made it a local Clean Sweep winning Best in Show at both Edgarstown HPS and Gilford & District. Handled  1st & 2nd G & C Topley, 3rd, Reserve & Commended T & K Mawhinney, VHC J Trotter, HC H Beattie. Through Wires  1st & HC T & K Mawhinney, 2nd W McDowell, 3rd F McCann, Reserve H Beattie, VHC A Gittins, Commended Radcliffe & Gillis. Eyesign  1st & 2nd G & C Topley, 3rd J Dowey & Sons, Reserve & VHC H Beattie & Son, HC A Gittins, Commended J Funston. Timmy Mawhinney won the top prize turkey in the raffle, it was a very enjoyable first visit to Laurelvale, the tea and sandwiches were much appreciated.  

DOLLINGSTOWN HPS  AA Cock of Hen T/W  1st, 3rd, VHC, HC & Commended Higginson & Johnston, 2nd, 4th & Reserve M Brown. Young Bird Special won by Higginson & Johnston. Mark Brown will have a team of youngsters direct from the stock birds for sale in Glenavy early February, watch press for details.  

RASHARKIN & DISTRICT HPS  The final young bird shows were held recently, Jimmy Robinson & Son were the BIS Champions. YB Through Wires  1st, 2nd, HC & Commended J Robinson & Son, 3rd, 4th & Reserve D Mairs, VHC H Cubbitt. YB Handled  1st & 2nd J Robinson & Son, 3rd C Tweed, 4th, Reserve, VHC, HC & Commended D Mairs. YB Eyesign  1st & HC H Cubbitt, 2nd & VHC J Robinson & Son, 3rd & 4th D Mairs, Reserve C Tweed, Commended L Davidson.  

The members of Ballylesson wish to thank judges Jeff Greenaway, Eddie Murray, Geoff McMullan and Paul Hope for giving their time. Thanks also to the many visitors that took part and to everyone that donated prizes for the ballot. Special thanks to Susan Albert for supplying the food, a spread fit for any table and fully appreciated by all. Congratulations to John Patterson on winning Best in Show and Best Young Cock with Mother & Son. Fleming Keery took 1st & 2nd in the Old Cocks class with Father and Son with the winner also taking Best Opposite Sex. Mackey & Lockhart took the Red Card in an excellent Young Hens class. Overall the Show was a tremendous success. Old Cocks  1st, 2nd & HC F Keery, 3rd & Commended P & C Johnston, 4th M & A Johnston, Reserve Spence Bros, VHC W J Mawhinney. Old Hens  1st J Patterson, 2nd, 3rd & Reserve R Telford & Son, 4th F Keery, VHC A Cousins & Sons, HC Spence Bros, Commended A Crawford. Young Cocks  1st, 3rd & Reserve J Patterson, 2nd & 4th R Telford & Son, VHC A Crawford, HC W J Mawhinney, Commended A Cousins & Sons. Young Hens  1st & VHC Mackey & Lockhart, 2nd Massey Bros, 3rd W J Mawhinney, 4th R Telford & Son, Reserve & Commended J Patterson, HC H Patterson & Son. All classes were sponsored by the Show Committee. BIS won by John Patterson. Best Opposite Sex Fleming Keery. Best YB John Patterson. Most Points by Visitor Loft won by R Telford & Son (West Belfast) sponsored by Fleming Keery.


Lagan Valley Chairman Paul Frazer collects the new Show Trophy from Jeff Greenaway of the Greenaway & Leonard partnership at the Festive Show.  

Judges at the Lagan Valley Show included from the left Jeff Greenaway, Eddie Murray, Paul Hope and Eddie McGimpsey.  

Best in Show Robert Gore collecting his prize from the mighty Jeff Greenaway.  

BOS at the Lagan Valley Show was won by Peter and Ian Gibb of Gibb Feeding and the Gibb & Byrne Stud.  

The Lagan Valley Club boasts some great names none better than the Master Breeder Herbie Philips pictured with Brian Spence of the Spence Bros partnership.  

Laurelvale Show winners include Timmy Mawhinney B.O.S and Geoff Topley Best In Show.  

The Laurelvale judges travelled from Mid-Antrim they included:- Gary Gibson, Monty Magill and Bertie Blair.  

Mid Antrim Ace Roy Clements in Discussion with Etienne Debruxelles of Belgium at a recent Ireland’s Own Pigeon Auction in Glenavy.


Racing Pigeon Scribe and Auctioneer Adie McCormick pictured with Tucker Daniel a four times winner in the mighty Sarsfield RPC in 2007.  

The Excellent Ireland's Own Pigeon Auctions Team in the Sarsfield Racing Pigeon Club from the (L) Brian, Adie and Tomo.

Adie McCormick
Ireland’s Own Pigeon Auction
Tel 028 92604778. Mobile 07835709877



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