SECTION D FANCIER OF THE YEAR AGAIN
Jeff holding his champion 'Back To Back' (see text).
Jeff Greenaway of the Hills & Maze HPS was once again crowned NIPA Section D Fancier of the Year for the fourth time in the past five years at the NIPA Ladies Night recently held at the Templeton Hotel on the outskirts of Antrim town. This man has flew out of his skin over the last five to six years, in fact has topped the Section no less than thirty six times with the Section covering Derriaghy, Dromara, Dromore West End, Dromore HPS, Dunedin, Dunmurry, Glenavy & Dist, Hillsborough & Maze, Lisburn & District, Colin and last but not least Largymore Inv HPS. With over 200 fanciers competing they send an average weekly birdage up to and over 3,500 birds. Without any exaggeration Section D is a hot bed for very many top class fanciers and by no means is not an easy Section to win never mind topping the Open that covers the whole of Northern Ireland. Only last year Jeff finished 2nd Open on five different occasions flying with the mighty NIPA with birdage topping 26,000 that’s what you call bad luck this is flying pigeons at its best. When any fancier shows as much dominance as this you always hear jealous whispers of he is doing this and using this and using that. It was my intention since receiving a Club result from Trevor Doherty of the Hills & Maze this year where Jeff took nine out of the available 10 positions that hardened my attitude to insure I gave this man the recognition that he deserves by visiting him and allowing you the fancy to see some of his top class pigeons, loft layout and a bit of reading about the man behind it all. In hindsight it was very stupid of me to try and fit in this loft report on a Sunday morning before going onto work as unknown to me Jeff was more talkative and informative than I had expected him to be. Very little has ever been wrote about this man’s continuous achievements although credit where credit is due fellow scribe and auctioneer Ronnie Johnston (Irish Rover) covered Jeff on a couple of occasions namely the R.P and Pictorial. For all the jealous whispers my advice is go and firstly see the loft set up and then look at the team of pigeons that are not only winning but producing winner after winner. That should satisfy everybody’s curiosity without even asking about systems.
The Young Cocks already showing encourageing signs for next years widowhood.
I myself had an element of curiosity how this man was starting to get pigeons returning together in batches and ultimately taking section and open positions one after the other as Jeff admitted himself this is something he never thought was possible when he was reading about it in the pigeon weekly’s, little did he know his own birds have performed the same fate for himself. Jeff Greenaway is neither no stranger to pigeons or winning with them. Racing with his father since he was a nipper they raced from the family home in Banbridge under the partnership of W Greenaway & Son with one of their major achievements (which were many) over the years, winning the NIPA OB Derby from France in 1986. Billy (Jeff’s father) now has the responsibility of looking after the stock birds for Jeff and spends much of his time studying, selecting and preparing for the many successful years to come hopefully. A family man, Jeff has two lovely daughters Shannon (10) and Chloe (8) a credit to Jeff’s wife Lisa. Two holidays a year are required to keep the household happy which in turn makes his life easier with the constant hustle and bustle about the house with the pigeons and his very busy working schedule as an engineer with the family based business in Lurgan which sees Jeff away from the family home up to 12 hours per day, sometimes 6 days a week.
The new Sections not yet complete for the Widowhood hens. (see text)
As well as an already very busy working and pigeon schedule Jeff likes to visit the Continent as often as he can and admits that a lot of his pigeon knowledge and more so his inspirations with regard loft layouts have come mostly from loft visits in and around Holland and Belgium. It is with these many visits abroad that has seen him and his wife Lisa build up close friendships with some of the biggest names in the modern day sport including :- Marcel Sangers, Louis Cooremans and Gerrard Koopman, Jeff and Lisa have had the pleasure of Marcel and Gerrard staying with them at the family home on the Lower Quilly Road outside Dromore. Rodney Greer (Millfield Stud) and John Kirk are too other established fanciers who grace the Greenaway household annually.
This year particularly was a very testing time for Jeff and his Family with Jeff awakening one morning in June with a tingling feeling in the right side of his face he was wise enough to know it was an unusual problem and phoned the doctor immediately who advised him to attend the surgery promptly. Jeff had suffered with a lump in his neck for about 3 years, his local GP had dismissed this as a cyst.
Having attended the surgery it was decided to carry out tests on this supposed cyst as it was much larger than it had previously been and the pain that Jeff was experiencing wasn’t pleasant. Upon investigation it was established that it was indeed a tumour that Jeff had in his neck, surgery was organised along with all tests associated with the discovery of any tumour. After a few weeks of waiting Jeff had his operation in August to remove it and is making a speedy recovering with all tests returning negative. Jeff would like at this opportunity to thank his family for all their love and support, all his well wishers and the many people who helped and volunteered to help with the pigeons. Jeff’s success is mostly down to a pair of Mardon Van Reets that as always come with a bit of luck and certainly fate. In 1993 Jeff phoned Tony enquiring about buying 2 x pair of Van Reets and 1 x pair of Sootjens upon asking what the cost would be Tony told Jeff £40 each to which Jeff explained that he wanted the better pigeons with the bigger price tag, to which Tony replied that all his pigeons were good and they are all priced at £40. So the six pigeons were ordered with delivery organised for his brother in laws house in England. One Saturday morning he got the phone call that the pigeons had arrived and duly arranged to have them shipped over. When they arrived one of the Sootjens was to far down and died putting the other one of the pair in the stock loft he left the Van Reets still in the Box on the kitchen floor. A fellow fancier called at the house along with his wife and upon asking what was in the box ! Jeff offered him one of the pairs but scribbled all the ring numbers down on paper rolling them up asked the gentleman’s wife to pick 2 pieces of paper. You can tell by his approach that Jeff didn’t really like what was in the box. With the pairing’s broke up he put his pair into the stock were they would be mated and produce absolutely nothing in the two seasons to follow. So when his father asked Jeff one particular morning if he still had the pair and would he be interested in selling them to a local novice just starting out, without delay they were in a box with well wishes for the new novice and no money was required but the gentleman in question insisted on paying what they had cost Jeff. The fancier in question stayed in the sport for a year or so and Jeff was offered the pair back without having to pay but Jeff being Jeff sent the money back with his father and Jeff had back the two Van Reets (you can guess how delighted he was). Little did he know that this subsequent turn of fortunate events was to catapult him to success as the pair were re-mated and Jeff has never looked back, every single pigeon from the pair has won at least 1 x Section some multiple Section winners with the exception of the first pigeon raced from the pair when re-mated, she has been named ‘Unlucky’ twice 2nd Section although in the stock loft the first pair of pigeons of ‘Unlucky’ were two Blue Cocks winning 1st Section 3rd Open 24,000 birds 1st Section 9th Open 23,000 birds. Children are not only winning Section’s but breeding Section Winners as well with a birdage of 3,000 + per week in the Section.. Not forgetting taking prominent positions in the mighty NIPA that covers the whole of the North of Ireland. As the heading reads (It Was Meant To Be). So as you can gather by now the stock loft is filled with the children of the ‘ The Original Pair’ a total of six sons and five daughters to which Jeff adds 2 or 3 new hens every year and any of the Grand Children that merit retirement. Jeff is always on the look out for new stock and is not afraid to experiment with new matings. Frank Sheadder has supplied a few Sootjens and they have also kicked in with one Pied Cock in particular responsible for 1st, 6th, 9th, 12th & 18th Open NIPA up to 30,000 Birds he has also Sired 3 x Section Winners. When this cock was paired back to his own mother two late breds were then mated back into his Mardon children and they have produced numerous winners including 2nd Section twice beat with loft mates.
The impressive south facing lofts of Jeff Greenaway. The main loft housing the Widowhood Cocks and the Y/B loft to the left of it with Aviary and Stall traps installed and above the 1st floor new loft for the Widowhood hens with impressive fly-in.
Three other pigeons worth a mention include a Heinz Willy Ritz hen obtained from Brian Clayburn who when mated to a cock of the ‘The Original Pair’ produced 2nd Open INFC Skibereen. Rodney Greer (Millfield Stud) has also supplied a Janssen Hen that has more than made her mark in the stock loft. Last but not least his good friend Marcel Sangers supplied him with a Hen of the Schone Lichte when mated to the Xantia in 1999 it again was mated into his Mardon family and have produced winners galore including 4 x 1st Section winners. As far as results go I will just list Section and Open positions over the last couple of seasons, not taking anything away from the Club competition as many outstanding fanciers fly within the Hills & Maze HPS. 2004 what a season 8 x 1st Sections and runner - up in the Open five times here is a quick run down. Starting with the 1st O/B race from Mullingar 2nd Section 99/1454 6th Open 15469; Kilkenny (2) 26th Section 150/3106; Tramore (1) 33rd Section 149/3220; Tramore (2) 1st, 2nd, 5th, 12th, 23rd, 38th & 40th Section 155/3550 20th, 23rd, 53rd & 86th Open 1390/28463; Rosscarbery Inland 21st Section 119/1064 136th Open 1124/9559; Talbenny (1) 7th & 11th Section 140/2086 118th & 154th Open 1289/17358; Tramore 4th & 14th Section 41/470 38th & 130th Open 532/6465; Roscarbery O/B National 23rd Section 118th Open 1179/14575 that was all up Ireland then to start across the water with Bude 1st, 21st & 26th Section 41/1302 12th & 118th Open 1042/9840 with a Mallow 5 Bird the same day the loft recorded a 1st & 5th Section 63/253 2nd & 15th Open 623/2625; Sennen Cove 1st Section 112/1100 2nd Open 1032/8450 just beat for 1st Open by C & H Beattie by .3 of a yard this was the same pigeon that won the Section finishing 12th Open from Bude on the Monday returning to Sennen Cove on the Thursday of the same week nearly winning the Open he is now known as ’Back To Back’. Finishing of the O/Birds the loft lifted 1st Section also from the Penzance Classic.
Y/Birds 2004 was a rush job as the family just returned a few days prior to the first race from holiday but none the less from Tullamore (3) 5th, 22nd, 28th, 41st Section 133/3374 42nd Open 1281/33,096; Kilkenny (1) 7th, 35th & 41st Section 131/3384; Kilkenny (2) 19, 32nd & 42nd Section 133/3167 107th Open 1233/28,526; Tramore (1) 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 7th, 10th, 11th & 24th Section 129/2727 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 21st, 36th & 40th Open 1198/25,172 the winner of this Section and 2nd Open was from the Pied Frank Sheader Cock; Tullamore (1) Comeback 1st, 5th, 8th & 15th Section 41/901 5th 36th & 44th Open 487/9631; Talbenny Y/B National 6th & 15th Section 64/400 127th Open 771/4865; Mallow 1st, 2nd, 6th, 7th & 15th Section 107/1898 2nd, 7th, 32nd & 35th Open 911/15,137, the winning pigeon was a grand-daughter of the ‘Original Pair’. The down side of last season must have been the Rosscarbery Young Bird National with only one away a Blue Cock in cracking form with the race in Mid Week Jeff as always was at his work, he had planned for getting home in time but was in a state of shock when the Cock arrived home early having received a mobile phone call from his wife. At this stage Jeff was being re-routed from his normal route home this disruption was to put another 20 minutes on his journey time and of course Lisa never having clocked a pigeon before was unsure what to do but was prepared should the pigeon have decided to trap. But no chance approx. 35 minutes after the bird had arrived Jeff pulled up and duly the bird trapped upon seeing it’s master to finish 8th Section 38th Open 725/5,942 (should this have been a National winner I wonder?). The final race as always was the INFC Skibbereen National a race that the South of Ireland normally have a field day, but to Jeff’s credit he clocked, this being the very first pigeon bred of ’Back To Back’ to finish 25th North Section 80th Open (all Ireland competing.) With the health problems that Jeff encountered this year it only gives more prestige to his achievement of winning the Section D Fancier of the Year for the fourth time in five years. Results are as follows :- Kilkenny (1) 3rd, 21st, 32nd, 34th & 42nd Section 138/2602 13th Open 1236/25,214; Kilkenny (2) 2nd & 11th Section 143/2769 101st Open 1277/26,120; This year the NIPA celebrated its 60th Anniversary to which they held an extra race open to all members from Barley Cove Jeff had a good result finishing 5th Section 35th Open; Pilmore Beach was yet another good result taking 3rd Section and 15th Open with 25,500 birds competing. Rosscarbery Inland O/B National as always provides a good opportunity for the Greenaway lofts this year was no different winning 8th Section 43rd Open 989 members sending 8737 birds. The first event of the Cross Channel programme seen them in Talbenny were the loft finished 5th Section 128/1774 21st Open 14,973 and the following week same race point 30th Section. Back again to Rosscarbery were good fortunes continued 7th Section 19th Open 13,082 birds competing. Bude and Mallow were once again run in conjunction from Bude 9th & 15th Section 109/1181 57th & 107th Open 1010/9192. Mallow Five Bird 3rd, 9th, & 16th Section 58/258 9th, 32nd & 81st Open 650/2884. The last race of the Old Bird programme for Jeff was Sennen Cove 2nd Section 116/1091 40th Open 976/7436 also finishing 26th Open in the Classic 544/3030.
Top photo :- Jeff Greenaway & Marcel Sangers enjoying the sunshine at Marcel's lofts. Middle photo :- The tidy back garden set up of the champion Marcel Sangers Below photo :- Marcel Sangers and Gerrard Koopman enjoying lunch at the Greenaways home on one of their visits over.
Young Birds starting competitively minus the area liberations was a race from Tullamore for Jeff 9th Section 111/2842 32nd Open 1137/27,772; The following week again from Tullamore 37th Section. Another Section win followed from Thurles taking 1st, 3rd, 9th, 13th , 14th & 15th 118/2613 5th, 8th, 17th, 23rd, 26th & 30th Open 1128/22,319. Thurles (2) 6th, 10th, 18th, 23rd & 42nd Section 121/2517 25th, 48th, 84th & 107th Open 1111/21,907; Thurles (3) 3rd, 6th, 7th, 11th, 13th & 14th Section 55/668 8th, 17th, 18th, 34th, 44th & 46th Open 453/5157; Roscarbery Y/B National 13th & 14th Section 65/679 127th & 142nd Open 679/6011; Tullamore on 03.09.05 the loft finished 8th, 10th, 24th, 27th, 35th & 41st Section 67/1340 86th, 95th & 163rd Open 489/8338. There wasn’t much difference in talking with Jeff to other top fanciers re. systems and feeding used. Versa Lega High Protein, Widowhood & Prestige are the mixtures. As far as the water goes he would add Garlic, Tea and Gervit Multi Vitamins fresh grit and minerals are always available. Widowhood are fed in their boxes. Young Bird feeding is measured but not starved Jeff always likes to go in with them and sit and get to know them with some extra mixture if required. Darkness is for 10 hours with the youngsters from 20.30 to 06.30 going on the system at 28 days old and coming off the system 1st week in June. Training starts at 5 miles with a maximum of 20 tosses before the first race, out twice a day for a fly around the loft (they are never forced) but are only fed at tea-time. Something new once racing starts tossing stops. The Widowhood is the same not tossed after racing starts and again not forced to fly but what he did point out as soon as they land they are brought in telling them who the boss is in a since. What an array of lofts for these fine racers to be housed, theory, thought and many improvements all carried out by the man himself. When entering the South facing lofts you could feel the fresh air and freshness but no smell of pigeons Jeff told me that this is made possible with much of the fronts as open as possible but are covered by shutters if and when required as obviously the rain and wind when attacking from the south beats off the front, a paint job is a must most years. Electric extraction through chimneys in the roof is always an extra help with regards keeping the lofts as dust free as possible and keeping an even flow of air remembering not to allow staleness to gather. I was also informed that should the temperature drop to a certain level the heaters would come on automatically. The main widowhood loft is situated at ground level to house approx. 30 racers with the Y/Birds confined to a spacious loft to the right of the widowhood loft divided by an aviary solely for the Young Birds enjoyment. Now that Jeff has his double garage built it was always his dream to have a 1st floor loft so without delay he went about designing a loft to go on top of the garage, and what a job he has done a 6 foot wide Section on either side of an open shutter that must be 4 foot wide this was the first year he has used the 1st floor loft keeping a few young birds in each section either side of this huge open space, when looking out through the gap what an amazing view at that height looking out onto the country side. Thinking this was a lookout Jeff amazed me once again by showing me what was behind the Section on either side he has created 2 x widowhood sections at the back for the hens to race from when mated to the some of the younger stock cocks, flying straight in through what I thought was a look out post. Again design is very similar to the loft that houses the cocks re. ventilation and heating. Its not my loft but I am already looking forward to next year to see if this improves Jeff’s already astounding results.
I will pen off by wishing Jeff continued good health and hopefully many more Sections, Sian a good 11 + result here’s hoping Chloe gets all she wishes from Santa and thanking Lisa for her hospitality on my visit.
(Lisburn City & Around)
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Tele. 028 92604778.