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Reports by Clifford Browne

Gary Hawthorne wins EDC Cup from Plaudren (Vannes)

The 2012 King’s Cup race from Plaudren was one of the more difficult of recent years so to enter just one bird and time it was no mean achievement. A total of 71 birds were recorded in race time of which four were from the East Down Combine and two of these were from the Millisle Club, the first of which timed on the 2nd day was to Millisle fancier Gary Hawthorne who timed his sole entry a lovely 2yo red hen which wins the East Down Cup for the best bird in the East Down Combine at 42nd open 33rd North section. Also timing on the second day was the Annsborough partnership of W Hardy & son who had two birds entered finishing 46th Open 35th north section. The third loft to time was that of M & K Browne of Bangor who timed on the third day for 60th open 47th North section and again this was this loft's only entry, bred for the task with bloodlines from two former King’s Cup winning Lofts that of N Black & sons and A McDowell &son. Both Gary’s bird and M & K Browne’s bird were entered in the single bird challenge where a total of 18 were timed, Gary’s finishing in 10th place. The 4th bird timed was again to Millisle and this loft has had a dream season from the French races having won the St Malo Derby with the East Down Combine just prior to this King’s Cup result. I refer of course to the father & son partnership of Raymond and Michael Strain who from the King’s Cup finish 65th open 51st North Section. Congratulations to these fanciers and their game birds on these results. My thanks to John Hollinger for the photos of Gary Hawthorne.



with Brendan McLoughlin

Hardy has only bird from King's Cup

The highlight of the pigeon season is the King’s Cup, which for the past few years has been flown from Vannes/Plaudren, in France. As everybody knows, the weather this past few weeks has been very unsettled making pigeon racing difficult. With heavy rain forecast for most areas the race was postponed from Friday 6th July until Monday 9th July. We had been watching the forecasts in the week preceding the race and received daily updates as to when basketing was going to take place. Thursday brought the news that the pigeons would be marked for the race in Lisburn on Friday 6th July for a possible race on the Monday as this looked to be our best chance of getting a race The pigeons were released at 6.30am on the Monday morning in a light northerly wind which was to turn westerly wind en route and then north-westerly as the day progressed. 794 members had entered 2,783 birds into Ireland’s premier race and were racing for £31,192 in pools and prize money.

The first bird timed was at 6.37pm and was the eventual winner for Gerry O’Reilly and sons Derek and Niall from the Malahide and District club in the Dublin area. However at the end of the first day of the race there were only 12 birds recorded in all of Ireland, but with a few of these in the north around 9pm we expected a good return of birds on the Tuesday morning. At the close of the race there were only 71 birds timed altogether with only one of these from the South Down area to Annsborough’s W Hardy & Son. Quite often there is an interesting story behind pigeons timed in this sort of race. Paddy told me that when his bird arrived at 7.48pm on the Tuesday evening it had a note attached to its leg saying that it had entered a loft in Rosslare earlier that morning and had been fed and watered. The guy said it was obvious that the pigeon wanted out again and seemed keen to get home so it was released again in the early afternoon. The pigeon timed was a seven-year-old Cheq tip cock that Paddy referred to as an ‘unfortunate pigeon in many ways’ as he had been trying to get him into this race for a couple of years but something always seemed to happen, either he got injured or lost his mate. This year his hen returned home from St Malo on the second morning injured. While she was away at the Derby the cock took up with another hen, and so was sent to the King’s Cup calling the two hens and very contented. The breeding of this cock is Fuller-Issacson and goes right back to a pair of pigeons that Paddy’s father got from Peter Tidey from Oxted in Surrey in 1958. Peter had said that one of them would be a good racer and one would be a good breeder and that’s exactly how it turned out. The pigeon timed here has ‘Tina Turner’ lines on both sides. ‘Tina Turner’ won a Hall of fame for Paddy in 1995. As well as timing this bird here Paddy had timed his two entries in the St Malo Derby the week before so he certainly enjoyed his French racing this year. Last year Paddy timed at 7.55pm on the first day of the race to take 108th Open. This year he timed at 7.48pm on the second day to take 35th North section, 46th Open with winnings of £197.27. He was the second East Down Combine pigeon clocked in the race behind Gary Hawthorne of Millisle. Full Result: 1, W Hardy & Son Annsborough 436 DTW resumes from 1st Navan. Only those who entered the DTW throughout the Old Bird season are eligible to take part. Next pool race 2nd Navan Young Bird Knock Out will start from 2nd Navan and finish from 2nd Mount Charles

Great end to Old bird season for Cleland

The 2012 Old Bird season came to an end with the Irish National Flying Club’s Friendship National, which this year was flown from Quimper in France. In recognition of the forthcoming Olympic games the race was designated the Olympic Friendship National with Gold, Silver and Bronze medals allocated to the first three birds in the result. The race had been originally scheduled for Friday 13th July but the forecast again caused this to be changed and the race was brought forward to Tuesday 10 July. It was a busy time for fanciers with the King’s Cup still running on at this time with those birds liberated the day before. The Friendship National birds were liberated at 7.30am in a light northwesterly wind in good conditions. However by the time the birds reached Ireland there was quite a bit of patchy rain around. By the end of the first day of the race there were only 7 pigeons clocked across Ireland, with the first two positions going to the Newry area to A McAteer & Son Ballyholland and P & C Swindell Newry City. Over the three days of the race there was only one pigeon recorded in the South Down Federation, to the Annsborough lofts of J Cleland. This has been a magnificent season for James who had 3 x 2nd in the East Down Combine before clinching the top prize in the Combine from the Penzance Classic. This result is the icing on the cake for James who is very National minded. James timed his two-year-old hen at 6.40 am on the second day to take a super 27th Open for the 438 mile fly. James has a great record from this race and the bird timed here is from the family of pigeons that have done so well for him in National races over the past 20 years. The sire is off the cock that was 6th Open Fougeres in 2002, which helped James to the Henry Beattie & Sons Trophy in its inaugural year for the best two-bird average. The pigeon taking 6th Open was timed at 5.30am on the second morning but James had already timed his first bird from the race at 8.45pm on the first day when there were only three birds on the day. The dam is the ‘Honeysuckle hen’. From the Janssen breed this hen was also the dam of the cock that was 21st Open Friendship National from Picauville in 2009, when there were only 23 birds home in three days. The ‘Honeysuckle hen’ is the same lines as PJ Corcoran’s Hall of Fame winner. The hen timed here was a latebred in 2010 and wasn’t raced as a young bird. As a yearling she flew through to Penzance, while this year she had 4 inland races, 1st Talbenny and Penzance. She was sent to the race sitting 10 days on eggs and was in good condition when she got home.

Full Result: 1, J Cleland Annsborough Result of Skibbereen Old Bird National 1, J Maguire & Ptrs Dundrum 1481 Nom; 2. P McCartan Annsborough 1413; 3, M Croskery Annsborough 1409; 4, P McCartan 1408; 5, G & P Brown Annsborough 1392; 6, R McDowell & Son Annsborough 1369; 7, P McCartan 1356; 8, N Maguire Annsborough 1350.5; 9, M Croskery 1350.3; P Brown & Son 1350.0: Result of Yearling National 1 P Brown & Son Annsborough 1074; 2, S Halpin & Son Tyrella 1073; 3, S Milligan & Dtr Tyrella 971; 4, R McKibbin Annalong 950; 5, D McNabb & Ptrs Tyrella 910; 6, M Croskery Annsborough 899; 7, D McNabb & Ptrs 877; 8, 9, S Milligan & Dtr 845, 816.7; 10, D McNabb & Ptrs 816.1 Early indications are that Micky Croskery has won the DTW from Navan. A new DTW will start this week. Fanciers sending birds this week must join this week. Others must join on the first week that they race young birds. You cannot join after that. Loft Knock Out starts this week and the draw will be made on Wednesday night. Pool race this week from 2nd Navan A draft of June/July young birds for sale from the Pointview All Blacks. Breeding is Donnelly Bros (Scarecrow lines), Busschaert, Jan Arden and De Weerdt. Contact Sean Milligan & Dtr, Pointview Lofts, Tel: 07833758100

East Down2bird News

2 bird Secretary Stephen Logan has the league and prize-winner positions at the end of the old bird programme and the following are the old bird trophy winners: Old Bird Inland average = McCartan & Woodsides Crossgar; Skibbereen Classic = McComb Bros Killyleagh Central; Penzance Cup = D Croskery & son  Annsborough; St. Malo = S & K Duke Crossgar; Channel Average = R Moore & son Bangor; Old Bird KO = R Moore & son Bangor; Old Bird of the Year = R Moore & son Bangor. The top places in the 5 leagues at the end of the Old bird racing were:

League A S Brown & sons =20points, McCartan & Woodsides =16points, A Cousins & sons =16points, C & D Smyth & sons =12points, M Jennings =10points

League B Mackey & Lockhart =18points, R Moore & son =16points, D & R Topping =12points, T Marshall & son =10points, B McConnell =8 points

League C McComb Bros =20points, F Gilmore =16points, R Hunter =12points, B & H Marshall =8 points, M Croskery =8 points

League D T Horner & son =16points, J Maguire & ptnrs =16points, B Connolly =14points, D Croskery & son =10points

League E W White & son =16points, Gordon Bros & sons =14points, S McLaughlin =12points, D McNabb & ptnrs =12points, S Regan =12points


Report by Sam Regan

Gordon Bros and Sons Best into Peninsula Amalgamation from Penzance

The final club race before the French Nationals and Derby races saw the Combine join all the other Irish organisations in Penzance. The weather has been a severe problem all season with several very difficult races flown and again it featured prior to basketing resulting in a delayed marking until Saturday with the hope of a Monday liberation. Monday morning dawned in Penzance with clear skies and a light wind and the strings were cut at 08.50 for the fly home of just over 300 miles home. Leading birds made it home in good time but like all channel racing this season most lofts had pigeons missing by nightfall. This year has seen several difficult flights for members' teams trying to get home.

Cloughey club winners timed the Amalgamation's top bird, being clocked into the lofts of Gordon Brothers and sons and placed 20th open with the Combine they also gained 6th with their second pigeon, a fancied racer which takes the runner up spot in the three bird club to complete yet another very good old bird season for this dedicated family.

Runner up in the Amalgamation result and 35th open goes to Harry Gordon and team timing a very well fancied pigeon and this bird lifts the red card with the three bird club for these Cloughey members.

Donaghadee’s winning bird a 2 year old Blue Cheq Cock raced by the partnership of Bennett Ferguson and Harry Wilkinson takes third and these Janssen bloodlines came through Manchester fanciers Wall, Lunt and Green and have flown very well for the Ballybuttle based team.

Millisle club winner Jackie Rankin had a good race clocking three birds on the sheet, being first, second and fourth club to add to 4th, 5th and 10th positions with the Peninsula Amal and yet another loft who has been racing very consistently all year.

Next up sees Alec Trimble of Donaghadee continue his great old bird season in both club and Amalgamation timing two birds in 7th and 9th places, the first a very experienced 5 year old Blue Bar a Janssen/Van Loon a previous winner from Talbenny and the family's other pigeon is a yearling Blue Cock again on the same breeding lines as his first makes it another good result for their old bird team.

In 8th place it's a return to Millisle Club with the husband and wife team of John and Jean Hollinger getting their team into good form for the forth coming French races which is a great favourite of the Hollinger's.

Up the road back to Donaghadee with David Allan clocking a fancied bird and pooler to take 11th into the Amalgamation and win third place in the three bird club, well done to the Allan family.

It's Millisle club again with a total of six birds in the result and this time it's the father and son team of Ray and Michael Strain having two birds home close together into their Ballyhay situated lofts to take 12th and 14th spots into the Peninsula.

The result sheet is completed by hard working Donaghadee secretary Kieran McCutcheon clocking one of his Van Reets for 5th club and 13th place in the Peninsula.

Full Result 28/319. 1st, 6th 1293,1199. Gordon Bros & sons. 2nd 1267 H.Gordon & ptnrs. 3rd 1239 Ferguson & Wilkinson. 4th, 5th & 10th 1230, 1202 & 1163 J.Rankin. 7th & 9th 1182, 1166. A & P.Trimble & sons. 8th 1177 J & J Hollinger. 11th 1126 E.D & K.Allan & sons. 12th & 14th 1125, 1116. R.Strain & son. 13th 1121 D & K. McCutcheon. 3 Bird Club. 1st H.Gordon & Ptnrs 1267 A.B.C. 2nd Gordon Bros & sons 1199 A.B.C. 3rd E & D & K. Allan & sons 1126 A.B.C. NOM.

As this was the final club race it was the show special prizes for all the members of the Amalgamation who entered and these went to 1st Gordon Bros & sons. 2nd Ferguson & Wilkinson. 3rd J.Rankin. 4th J & J.Hollinger.

That's all for this week and sorry for the delay with this report due to holiday season.

2012 Young Bird Season Commences

  Navan gets Young Bird programme underway

Saturday July 21st saw the start of the East Down Combine 2012 young bird programme with the first race from Navan. For once the weather behaved itself and the youngsters, all 4000 of them, took to the air at 8.35am with very little wind and the little that there was was a very light SW. As this was the first race for the young birds the leaders made good time and the rest took some time to sort themselves out and as always some decided that racing was not for them so there were some losses. With the wind favourable the early birds were to the North and East of the Combine with Dundonald and Cloughey having the most of the early birds with Mark Foulis (Dundonald) having the top two and 3rd open went to Ronnie Johnston (Comber) with the Gordon Bros &sons of Cloughey off to another great start with 8 of the top 12 in the open with little or nothing dividing some of these and taking all top 6 places in the East section. Mickey Croskery of Annsborough completes the top dozen at 11th open.

As we go down the clubs the effect of the SW in the wind can be seen with the clubs at the southern end of the Combine in the main having much lower winning velocities. The top open and section velocities were:

East Down Combine 21/07/2012 1st Navan YB 139 Members 4051 Birds Wind Light South Westerly:

1 M.Foulis Dundonald HPS 1592.280

2 M.Foulis Dundonald HPS 1591.275

3 R. Johnson Comber Social HPS 1580.835

4 Gordon Bros & Sons Cloughey HPS 1574.688

5 Gordon Bros & Sons Cloughey HPS 1574.688

6 Gordon Bros & Sons Cloughey HPS 1574.348

7 Gordon Bros & Sons Cloughey HPS 1574.348

8 Gordon Bros & Sons Cloughey HPS 1573.666

9 Gordon Bros & Sons Cloughey HPS 1573.666

10 Gordon Bros & Sons Cloughey HPS 1571.627

11 M.Croskery Annsborough HPS 1570.165

12 Gordon Bros & Sons Cloughey HPS 1569.592.

West Section 44 Members 1250 Birds

1 M.Foulis Dundonald HPS 1592.280

2 M.Foulis Dundonald HPS 1591.275

3 R. Johnson Comber Social HPS 1580.835

4 T. Horner & Sons Crossgar HPS 1569.240

5 S & A McEwen Ballynahinch HPS 1565.417

6 J. McGreevy Crossgar HPS 1527.467

East Section 95 Members 2801 Birds

1 Gordon Bros & Sons Cloughey HPS 1574.688

2 Gordon Bros & Sons Cloughey HPS 1574.688

3 Gordon Bros & Sons Cloughey HPS 1574.348

4 Gordon Bros & Sons Cloughey HPS 1574.348

5 Gordon Bros & Sons Cloughey HPS 1573.666

6 Gordon Bros & Sons Cloughey HPS 1573.666

The Best From The Clubs

Annalong Bobby McConnell takes the red card on 1263 with John Trimble & son having the next two on 1240 and 1235

Annsborough Mickey Croskery takes 1st and 2nd 1570 and 1557 with G & P Brown 3rd on 1553

Ballylesson and good to see the McConaghie name with the red card as Betty and Geoff keep the partnership of K & B McConaghie going winning this one on 1508 followed by two to John Patterson 1479 and 1478

Ballynahinch was won by S & A McEwen on 1565 followed by two to Rob Hunter 1510 and 1509

Ballywalter 1st and 2nd Winston McMaster & Hugh get off to a great start with two blue hens together on 1565 & 1564 3rd is Sam Regan with another Blue Bar Hen on 1549

Bangor where Lambert & Stewart had a great race with the top three on 1555, 1487 and 1486

Cloughey and as already mentioned it was Gordon Bros & Sons with the early ones all on 1574

Comber Ronnie Johnston racing with Comber had another great race and wins here on 1580 with Ken Tompsett taking the next two1491 and 1488

Crossgar top three here were Tom Horner & sons 1569 Joe McGreevy 1527 and S & K Duke 1501

Donaghadee Mr & Mrs Glen Gardiner have the top two 1521 and 1498 the winner having been bred off birds from the late John Miskimmin of Donaghadee and the runner up was a van den Bosche. In 3rd place on 1497 was the partnership of Angus & son & McConkey

Downpatrick J Quinn & son 1st and 2nd with 2 together 1498 &1497 with Jackie Crossan 3rd on 1480

Drumaness J Kirk & son have the top three 1274,1273 and 1270

Dundonald Mark Foulis first and second open and top three in the club 1592,1591 and 1507

Dundrum J Maguire & ptnrs take the top three with the winning pigeon well clear on 1402 the next bird on 1216 and the 3rd on 1210

Hillfoot A & R Crawford win here on 1431 with W & L Robinson 2nd and 3rd on 1342 and 1340

Killyleagh Central has McComb Bros with the top three 1550,1550 and 1549

Newcastle Ronan McVeigh & Son take 1st and 2nd on 1287 and 1285 and E & A Rogan were 3rd on 1270

Newtownbreda Walter & Gareth White take the top three 1494, 1437 and 1435  

This week sees the young birds back in Navan