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Homers Odyssey - Ballymena & District HPS - End of season report by Mervyn Eagleson. 27-10-21

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Ballymena & District HPS - End of season report by Mervyn Eagleson

With the pigeon racing season now over it's time to look back on the past season in the Ballymena & District club. This season the club members won 10 x 1st Mid Antrim Combine's and 4 x 1st Section B. The highlight of the season was achieved by William & Joe Smyth when the brother's won 1st Open in the Penzance Old Bird Classic with "Ken Aird Lad". Highest prize-winners Johnston Eagleson & Sons had 10 x 1st club wins and topped the Combine three times from Gowran Park OB, Fermoy (4) OB and Gowran Park YB. They topped Section B from Gowran Park YB and were also runner up in the section on three other occasions. William & Joe Smyth won 8 x 1st (6 of these on the channel), and also topped the Combine three times from 2nd Talbenny, Penzance and Penzance Classic and won the Section twice from both the Penzance races. As I mentioned earlier they also had the highlight of the Ballymena & District season winning 1st Open NIPA Penzance and 1st Open NIPA Penzance Old Bird Classic with "Ken Aird Lad". Blair & Rankin won 5 x 1st and 1st Combine from Roscrea young birds. R Service & Son had 5 x 1st and topped the Combine three times from Roscrea OB, Tullamore YB, Skibbereen INFC YB National and won 1 x 1st Section B from Roscrea OB. Martin Graham won 3 x 1st which included both the INFC King's Cup and NIPA OB National races and in fact Martin was the only Combine member to time in both races. C & D Jackson won 1 x 1st from Tullamore Area Lib (3)

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Highest prize-winners in Ballymena & District for a difficult 2021 season were Johnston & Mervyn Eagleson.

Racing with the Mid Antrim Combine W & J Smyth won the Single Bird Best Average from 2nd Talbenny & Penzance and J Eagleson & Sons won the OB Inland Average. W & J Smyth won the RPRA meritorious award in Section B for the best single bird average from 2nd Talbenny & Penzance with "Ken Aird Lad"

Racing with the Irish National Flying Club and Martin Graham won the Duddy Extreme Distance Trophy for the furthest flying member in the Saint Allouestre O.B. King’s Cup open prizes. Martin's hen "Wee Fiona" finished 12th North Section and 19th Open National flying 504 miles. Clubmate Robert Alexander was runner up for this award.

Highest-Prizewinners Top 10 Points List. Johnston Eagleson & Sons, W & J Smyth, Blair & Rankin, Robert Service & Son, C & D Jackson, Robert Alexander, Martin Graham, Reynolds & McCormick, George Bell, George & Ann Eagleson.

Cup & Trophies 2021 season:

J Eagleson & Sons won - Highest Prize-winners, OB Inland Average, Old Bird of the Year 20B21419, OB Fermoy 5 Bird, NIPA Skibbereen Yearling National, NIPA Skibbereen OB Inland National

W & J Smyth won - Ruddle & Vintage cups Talbenny YB National, Young Bird of The Year 21B16016, 6th YB Race, Bude, I Talbenny, Penzance, Penzance OB Classic, (McCrory cup) - Best Average II Talbenny & Penzance,

Blair & Rankin won the INFC Yearling National, Fermoy YB 5 Bird, YB Average, YB Inland Average, 2nd YB Race.

R Service & Son - NIPA Skibbereen YB National, INFC Skibbereen YB National, 1st Yearling Penzance 20B21823, Best Average NIPA YB Nationals.

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Robert Service & Son won both the Skibbereen YB Nationals, for a best racing season.

Martin Graham won INFC Points Cup, Kings Cup, New Kings Cup Smyth Bros perpetual and NIPA Old Bird French National Cup St Malo.

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W & J Smyth (l) topped the NIPA from Penzance and had Young Bird of the Year. Martin Graham won the INFC Points Cup, Smyth Bros Perpetual for the Kings Cup and the OB France National.

Ballymena Old Bird Season Review -

Tullamore 24/04/21: Ballymena & Dist. 6/197 – J Eagleson & Sons 1420, 1419, 1414, R Service & Son 1391, Blair & Rankin 1385, 1383, R Service & Son 1381, J Eagleson & Sons 1378, R Service & Son 1358, W & J Smyth 1358. Johnston Eagleson & Sons had a great start to the season winning the top three positions in the club and also had the best three birds in the town. Their winning 2 year old blue chequer hen was timed at 13.36pm for the 126 mile fly to the Cullybackey Road lofts. The dam is a double Combine winner from Tullamore and Corrin and the sire is "The Pest" a top Lambrecht stock cock. A full sister to the winning hen won Ballymena & District three weeks on the trot in 2017 and finished 1st, 3rd & 5th Mid Antrim Combine. The second hen clocked again at 13.36pm is a full sister to the hen that won 5 x 1st club and 2 x 2nd Combine in the 2019 season.

Roscrea 1/5/21: Service & Son win Combine & Section from Roscrea - The second old bird race of the season on Saturday 1st May was from Roscrea in Co. Tipperary. The strings were cut and the birds released at 9.30am in a light north wind variable en-route. Best pigeon clocked in the local area and winning 1st Mid Antrim Combine with 1833 birds competing was to the Service & Son partnership of Ballymena & District on 1535ypm. Robert and son Robin timed their 2 year old blue pied roundabout hen at 12.16pm for the 145 mile fly to their Drumtara lofts. This steady hen was purchased direct from Dave Stone of Derbyshire and is bred from "Eddy's Lad" and "Guardian Angel" Robert the Ballymena club chairman and Robin the club treasurer are both hard working club men and they will be delighted with their latest winner which also wins 1st Section B with 3801 birds. Runners up in the MA Combine for the second week in a row were Johnston Eagleson & Sons of Ballymena & Dist. on 1524, with a 2 year old blue chequer Lambrecht’s x Heremans-Ceusters cock . Ballymena & District 8/346 – R Service & Son 1535, J Eagleson & Sons 1524, 1504, 1486, 1478, 1478, 1478, W & J Smyth 1472, J Eagleson & Sons 1470, Blair & Rankin 1469.

Gowran Park 7/5/21: Johnston Eagleson wins Friday race from Gowran Park -The third race of the season on Friday 7th May was from Gowran Park in Co. Kilkenny. The birds were liberated at 10am in a blue sky with no wind. Best two birds in the local area were clocked by Johnston Eagleson & Sons of Ballymena & District doing 1500ypm. Having been runners up in the Mid Antrim Combine in the opening two weeks of the season they went one better this week winning 1st & 2nd Combine with 1843 birds competing. Both birds were timed at 13.06pm for the 158 mile fly to the Cullybackey Road lofts. The winning bird a 2 year old blue chequer cock is full brother to the hen won Ballymena & Dist. in the opening race of the season finishing 2nd Combine 1207 birds, another sister won Ballymena & Dist. three weeks on the trot in 2017 and finished 1st, 3rd & 5th Mid Antrim Combine. The dam a double Combine winner from Tullamore and Corrin is the best bloodlines of Paddy & William McManus of Ahoghill and the sire "The Pest" is bred from top Lambrecht stock from Danny Dixon of Rasharkin. The second bird timed a blue chequer w/f cock was from Jackie Steele of Rasharkin. Sire is Van Den Bulk and is a grandson of "Blue Leo" and the dam is Patrick Boeckx and is a granddaughter of "Sagan". Ballymena & District HPS 10/356 – J Eagleson & Sons 1500, 1500, 1490, 1489, 1481, 1478, 1478, W & J Smyth 1476, 1476, J Eagleson & Sons 1475.

Fermoy 14/5/21: Ballymena & District HPS 8/350 – J Eagleson & Sons 1528, 1523, W & J Smyth 1521, J Eagleson & Sons 1520, 1508, 1504, W & J Smyth 1501, J Eagleson & Sons 1496, 1496, 1496. Johnston Eagleson & Sons have their third win of the season. Winning blue chequer yearling Lambrecht cock was from Jackie Steele of Rasharkin. Sire a son of Jackie's good 38 cock and dam a sister to his famous 02 hen. One the same way bred topped the section three times in the 2019 season for W & J McLean of Rasharkin. Second bird timed a chequer w/f hen was sister to last week’s Combine winner from Roscrea. Sire "The Pest" and dam their good double Combine winner.

Castletown 22/5/21: Ballymena & District HPS 9/265 – J Eagleson & Sons 1399, 1382, 1378, W & J Smyth 1378, J Eagleson & Sons 1376, 1368, W & J Smyth 1366, R Service & Son 1362, J Eagleson & Sons 1362, 1360. Johnston Eagleson & Sons have the top 3 positions this week and their fourth club win of the season timing a 5 year old blue white flight Lambrecht hen. This hen was winning Ballymena & District for the third time and among her many prizes includes 2nd & 3rd Mid Antrim Combine. The second bird timed a 2 year old blue chequer cock topped the Combine two weeks earlier from Gowran Park 60/1843. William & Joe Smyth again knocking on the door are next best.

Skibbereen OB Inland National 29/5/21: Ballymena & District HPS 6/66 – J Eagleson & Sons 1492, 1491, W & J Smyth 1469, R Service & Son 1460, J Eagleson & Sons 1459, Blair & Rankin 1457, W & J Smyth 1456, J Eagleson & Sons 1452, George Bell 1452, Blair & Rankin 1444. Johnston Eagleson & Sons have the best two birds this week and their fifth win of the season. Their winning 2 year old blue pied hen was placed 9th Section B from the Skibbereen Yearling National last season and also joint bird of the year in the club. This season in the opening race from Tullamore she won 4th Mid Antrim Combine 42/1207. Their second bird timed won 3rd Combine and 3rd Section B from Roscrea earlier in the season.

2nd Fermoy 29/5/21: Ballymena & District 8/175 – W & J Smyth 1499, J Eagleson & Sons 1493, 1488, 1481, 1478, W & J Smyth 1470, J Eagleson & Sons 1461, 1461, 1461, 1458. William & Joe Smyth had a deserved first win of the season. Their 2 year old blue widowhood cock was winning it's third prize of the season including 4th club and 10th Combine 55/1475 from Castletown last weekend. Breeding is Jackie Traynor of Co. Durham.

INFC Skibbereen OB Inland National 1/6/21: Ballymena & District HPS – M Graham 1107, 1102, 1082, 1050, 1046, G Bell 977, 945. Martin Graham won the first Flying Club race of the season, a tough Skibbereen National.

Talbenny 6/6/21: Ballymena & District HPS 8/177 – W & J Smyth 1307, 1300, 1297, 1292, 1289, R Service & Son 1278, W & J Smyth 1275, J Eagleson & Sons 1269, G & A Eagleson 1266, Blair & Rankin 1261. Channel experts William & Joe Smyth had an excellent race taking the top five positions in the club. Their winning bird a yearling widowhood cock is again bred down from their Jackie Traynor bloodlines. Their second bird another yearling widowhood cock is bred off a cock from Donnelly Bros of Newry and last weeks Fermoy winner a two year old blue widowhood cock is place 4th this week. Great result for the 87 and 85 year olds.

Ballymena loft W & J Smyth win 1st Mid Antrim Combine - The second channel race of the season was again from Talbenny in south Wales. The birds were liberated on Saturday 12th June at 8.00am in a light north westerly wind. The best pigeon winning 1st Mid Antrim Combine was timed by William & Joe Smyth of Ballymena & District. This partnership consisting of 87 year old William and 84 year old Joe have an outstanding channel record dating back 60 years which has included 2nd Open in both the NIPA French OB Derby and Penzance OB Classic. In the present-day racing, there is hardly a season goes past when they don't win the Combine or Section from a channel event especially Penzance their favourite race point. Their winning bird this week a 4 year old blue widowhood cock was timed at 12.41pm for the 220 mile fly to the lofts at Carniny Road and recorded 1377ypm. This cock was purchased direct from Jackie Traynor of Co. Durham and is probably their best racing cock at present having won countless prizes both inland and channel including 1st Talbenny and 2nd Bude and also bred there Fermoy winner a couple of weeks back. The Partnership took the top 5 positions in the club for the second week running and now have 3 wins for the season.

Ballymena & District HPS 6/83 – W & J Smyth 1377, 1319, 1290, 1280, 1275, R Service & Son 1270, W & J Smyth 1268, Blair & Rankin 1245, 1219, R Service & Son 1195

Fermoy 12/7/21: Ballymena & District HPS 7/83 – J Eagleson & Sons 1565, 1527, 1523, 1519, 1514, 1503, 1500, R Service & Son 1497, J Eagleson & Sons 1486, W & J Smyth 1456. Johnston Eagleson & Sons had a good race winning with a yearling blue chequer cock. Breeding is Van den Bulck, the dam being a granddaughter of the famous Kittel. Their second bird a 2 year old blue chequer Lambrecht’s x Heremans-Ceusters cock won the club from the 5 Bird.

Fermoy 5bird 12/7/21: Ballymena & District HPS 5/18 – J Eagleson & Sons 1527, 1500, R Service & Son 1497, J Eagleson & Sons 1486, W & J Smyth 1456, R Service & Son 1417. Johnston Eagleson & Sons had the winner in the 5 Bird with a 2 year old blue chequer Lambrecht’s x Heremans-Ceusters cock. This cock won 2nd Combine and 2nd Section B from Roscrea earlier in the season when beaten by clubmates Robert Service & Son.

INFC Sennen Cove Yearling National 16/6/21: Ballymena & District HPS - Blair & Rankin 527, G & A Eagleson 404. Only 2 bird were timed in the club and both by former 1st Open NIPA Talbenny YB National winners. Blair had the winner with a blue pied cock feeding a 5 day old chick. Sire Grondelaer from clubmate Martin Graham and dam Soontjen from Davy Campbell of Glengormley. George and Ann Eagleson had the only other arrival. This loft won 1st Open in a tough Talbenny YB Derby way back in 1987 and more recently in 2017 they won 1st Mid Antrim Combine from the INFC Kings Cup race from St Allouestre.

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Blair & Rankin were best in the INFC Yearling Nat Sennen Cove 

19/6/21 Skibbereen Yearling National: Ballymena & District 4/36 – J Eagleson & Sons 1589, 1589, 1582, 1548, R Service & Son 1541, J Eagleson & Sons 1534, 1533, 1525, George Bell 1399, 1348. Johnston Eagleson & Sons had 2 birds time together for joints winners. First bird timed a blue chequer Lambrecht cock was from Jackie Steele of Rasharkin. This cock won the club from Fermoy and finished 3rd Combine. Sire a son of Jackie's good 38 cock and dam a sister to his famous 02 hen. The second bird timed was a chequer Van Den Bulck cock the dam being a granddaughter of "Kittel"

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Johnston Eagleson won Skibbereen Yearling Nat, Skibbereen Old Bird Nat and had Old Bird of the Year.

19/6/21 Bude: Ballymena & District HPS 7/56 – W & J Smyth 1426, 1410, R Alexander 1377, W & J Smyth 1363, R Alexander 1351, Blair & Rankin 1338, R Service & Son 1317, 1316, W & J Smyth 1308, G & A Eagleson 1251. Last week’s Talbenny Combine winners William & Joe Smyth made it three wins on the trot from the channel races and their fourth club win of the season. They timed a yearling blue cock on widowhood and again it was the breeding of Jackie Traynor of Co. Durham.

26/6/21 Fermoy (4):  Hard race from 4th Fermoy – Top Card for Johnston Eagleson. The NIPA were back in Fermoy in Co. Cork for the fourth time this season. Birds were released on Saturday the 26th June at 8.00am in a north northwest wind and a tough race was to follow. Best two birds in the Mid Antrim Combine were timed by Johnston Eagleson & Sons of Ballymena & District. Their winning 2 year old blue chequer hen sitting eggs 12 days topped the Combine by a clear 12 minutes. The hen was timed at 12.59pm for the 201 mile fly to the Cullybackey Road lofts to record a velocity of 1183 and finish 2nd Section B and 21st Open NIPA 4891 birds. Sire is Van den Bulck from the P & D Breeding Stud and dam is half Louis Thijs from Paddy and William McManus of Ahoghill. Johnston's second bird and the Combine runner up was a yearling blue chequer cock timed at 13.11pm, this cock was winning it's 6th club prize of the season including 1st club last week from the Skibbereen Yearling National. This cock is half-brother to the winner having the same Van den Bulck, sire and the dam is a granddaughter of the famous "Kittel" The Eagleson loft had 10 birds in the Top 20 of the Combine, had the best 5 birds in the town and recorded their second Combine win of the season.

Ballymena & District – J Eagleson & Sons 1183, 1139, 1118, 1109, 1109, 1101, 1096, 1094, 1090, 1083.

Penzance & Penzance Classic 1/7/21: "Ken-Aird Lad" Wins 1st Open NIPA Penzance & Classic for Smyth Loft. The NIPA Penzance and Classic event was flown on Thursday 1st July. Birds were released at 10.00am in light winds variable en route. Best two birds in the local area winning 1st & 2nd Mid Antrim Combine were recorded by William & Joe Smyth of Ballymena & Dist. I did a report on these gentlemen a few weeks back when they topped the Combine from Talbenny and finished 5th Open NIPA 605/8813. Well, I was back at their loft's again this week to handle their latest 1st Open NIPA Penzance Classic winner which has been named "Ken Aird Lad". If ever a result was truly deserved, it was to these guys. Countless Combine and Section wins and top open positions over the years especially from the cross channel events and at last the big 1st Open arrived. Their winning 2 year old blue widowhood cock was timed at 17.15pm after the 329 mile fly to the lofts on Carniny Road. This cock was winning it's 5th prize of the season and was placed in the section in both the Talbenny races. The sire is Koopman and won 1st Section B & 11th Open NIPA Talbenny in 2017. The sire of the dam is Lambrecht and won 2nd Section B & 7th Open NIPA Talbenny in 2019. This cock was one from a kit of six young birds from Jackie Steele of Rasharkin. It was off a brother of Jackie's good 02 cock when paired to a granddaughter of Quiverman. William & Joe timed their second bird 10 minutes later at 17.25pm to win 2nd Combine, 2nd Section B and 15th Open NIPA. This 3 year old blue widowhood cock won 21st Section in 1st Talbenny and 15th Section in 2nd Talbenny and was placed in the open result in both races. Breeding is Heremans - Ceuster from Jackie Traynor Co. Durham. A great day’s racing from the channel specialists 87 year old Billy and his brother 84 year old Joe. I'm sure anyone who knows these guys will be delighted for them. A massive well done from everyone. Ballymena & District 5/38 – W & J Smyth 1332, 1301, 1214, Blair & Rankin 1178, R Alexander 1175, W & J Smyth 1174, R Service & Son 1170, Blair & Rankin 1143, R Service & Son 1135, Blair & Rankin 1125.

Saint Malo 1/7/21: M Graham 50th, 100th & 109th NIPA OB National St Malo. Ballymena & District 8/45 - Martin Graham 570, 424, 397. Martin timed the only 3 arrivals in the club at 17.46pm on the second day and 08.04am and 10.15am on the third morning. His winner a 2-year-old blue cock was sitting on eggs 12 days. It had two races from Fermoy with the NIPA and then privately trained in preparation for France. This cock won the hard Bude last season and was placed 2nd Mid Antrim Combine. He was bred by Danny Dixon of Rasharkin. The sire being the "Belgie Cock" and the dam was in fact purchased by Danny for £900 at a sale of Martins and she is a direct daughter of "The Big Hen" Martins second bird is a daughter of the blue cock he timed as a yearling in the 2018 Kings Cup smash finishing 57th Open that year. This hen also had the hard Bude last season and was sitting 11 days on eggs. His third bird a 2-year-old blue chequer cock sitting eggs 12 days was 2nd club in St Malo last season as a yearling. This one is a half-brother of "Brenda Anne" on the sires side while the dam was bred by another top distance flyer Hugh Boyd of Randalstown. "Brenda Anne" was the only bird in Section B and placed 7th Open for Martin in the St Malo smash of 2017. Martin's three arrivals were placed 50th, 100th & 109th Open NIPA National. Another top French performance for a man who puts a lot of time into his pigeons. Very well-done Martin, yet another top result.

St. Allouestre INFC Kings Cup 8/7/21: Ballymena & District HPS - Martin Graham 532, Robert Alexander 368. Runner up in the Combine was top National flyer Martin Graham of Ballymena & District clocking at 16.31pm on the second day after the 504 miles fly to his superb lofts on the Old Cullybackey Road. Martin hen which has been named "Wee Fiona" finished 12th North Section and 19th Open National and also wins the Duddy Extreme Distance Trophy for Saint Allouestre O.B. Furthest flying member in the King’s Cup open prizes. Martin's national record grows each season and only a week ago he was placed 50th, 100th & 110th Open in the NIPA St Malo OB National. He's had countless Top 20 national positions with his top wins being 1st Open INFC Sennen Cove Yearling National with Denman in 2018, 1st Open NIPA Skibbereen OB Inland National in 2004 and 2nd Open NIPA Lamballe OB Derby in 2003. Martin timed a 2-year-old chequer pied hen sitting 17 days on eggs due to the delay in race marking for the Kings Cup. Breeding on the sire's side is a son of Ronnie Williamson's "Golden Wonder" when paired to Martin's Famous "The Big Hen" while the dam is a daughter of "The Big Hen" this making Martin's bird a double granddaughter of "The Big Hen" The Breeding of "The Big Hen" is Norman Thompson (Walkinshaw) crossed with one of Martin's original Wildermersch cocks and she is now responsible for 59 (Fifty Nine) NIPA & INFC National prize-winners for Martin. Another top result and his best Kings Cup finish to date.

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Martin Graham had the best bird in the Kings Cup from St Allouestre and won the INFC Points Cup yet again.

The only other fancier to time an arrival in the Combine was Robert Alexander of Ballymena & Dist. who timed his 4-year-old dark pied hen at 11.07am on the third morning flying 504 miles. The hen had just paired up 2 days before basketing and was having it's first ever channel race. Sire is an old Kenyon cock from William McKillen (Ballymena & Dist. at the time). This cock contains all the old bloodlines of the famous Smyth Brothers of Ballymena who were twice 1st Open in INFC National races. The dam is bred down from stock obtained from another top distance loft Harry McCloy of Cullybackey. The hen finished 21st North Section and 30th Open National and is Robert's best performance to date.

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Robert Alexander had a best result from France finishing 2nd Club from St Allouestre over 500 miles.

Ballymena Young Birds Season Review -

Tullamore Area Lib (1) 17/7/21: Ballymena & District HPS 3/124 – Blair & Rankin 1290, W & J Smyth 1284, Blair & Rankin 1211, W & J Smyth 1154, Blair & Rankin 1144, 1144, 1096, 1086. Bertie Blair wins the opening young bird race with a blue cock timed at 09.52am. Sire is Stickers - Donckers and is direct from Gary Gibson's "Golden Pair" while the dam is Pit Bull from clubmate Johnston Eagleson. Runners up were the NIPA Penzance Classic winners Billy & Joe Smyth who timed at 09.53am. These two lofts finish 27th & 28th Open in the NIPA Area Liberation 60/1482.

Mullingar Area Lib (2) 24/7/21: Ballymena & District HPS 5/97 – Blair & Rankin 1254, C & D Jackson 1245, Blair & Rankin 1244, C & D Jackson 1242, W & J Smyth 1241, C & D Jackson 1232, Blair & Rankin 1231, C & D Jackson 1228, 1227, W & J Smyth 1224. Bertie Blair wins for the second week on the trot with a red cock at 10.53am. Dam is "Doreen's Choice" 1st Open NIPA Talbenny young bird National for Bertie in 2019 breeding being Frans Myers from Paddy & William McManus of Ahoghill x Lambrecht’s, and the sire Hermans - Ceuster x Frans Myers again from Paddy & William McManus of Ahoghill. This cock won 1st Combine and 24th Open INFC Sennen Cove Yearling National in 2019.

Tullamore Area Lib (3) 31/7/21: Ballymena & District 10/292 – C & D Jackson 1213, 1202, 1201, R Service & Son 1191, C & D Jackson 1181, J Eagleson & Sons 1180, 1180, Blair & Rankin 1177, C & D Jackson 1165, 1160. Big Davy Jackson had his first win in his new club and took the top three positions. His winning blue cock timed at 15.49pm to the loft's in Cross Hill View in Kells was Soontjen x Lambrecht. Both parents were bred by Derek Parr

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New member Davy Jackson won the Area Liberation from Tullamore.

Roscrea 10/8/21: Dapper Performance from Bertie Blair at Roscrea. Roscrea in County Tipperary was the race point for the fourth young bird race of the season. The mass liberation of all sections was released at 10.30am on Tuesday 10th August in light west to south westerly winds. Ballymena & District's Bertie Blair had an outstanding race winning the top three positions in the Mid Antrim Combine and a further five birds in the Top 20. Bertie timed his mealy hen at 13.26pm flying 146 miles to record 1453ypm. The sire of the winner has also bred "Faith" Bertie's Talbenny YB National Open winner of 2019 and the dam was from Paddy and William McManus of Ahoghill. This hen was direct from Peter Stakenborg of Belgium and is a daughter of his foundation pigeon he calls "Poulidor" Bertie's second bird a Blue hen is Stefaan Lambrecht from Ian Gibb of Glenavy x Vermerburgen bloodlines of Keith Kernohan of Harryville. His third bird is again Stefaan Lambrecht from Ian Gibb x Lambrecht from Gary Gibson of Cullybackey.

Ballymena & District HPS 8/182 – Blair & Rankin 1453, 1453, 1446, 1443, 1443, 1443, C & D Jackson 1436, Blair & Rankin 1433, J Eagleson & Sons 1424, Blair & Rankin 1422.

Gowran Park 16/8/21: Johnston Eagleson tops the Combine & Section from Gowran Park

The fifth young bird race of the season was from Gowran Park in County Kilkenny. The NIPA released their 11,694 birds on Monday 16th August at 10.45am in light westerly winds. At the home end the wind was north westerly, and the race turned out another tough test for the young birds. Johnston Eagleson & Sons of Ballymena & District clocked the best bird in the local area at 14.20pm to win 1st Mid Antrim Combine and 1st Section B on 1296ypm. Their winner a blue chequer hen was 9 minutes clear in the town. The sire is Van Den Bulck and was purchased from Trevor Simpson of York and is a grandson of both "Kittel" and "Best Kittel" while the Lambrecht dam and her nestmate were purchased in a kit of 6 young birds from Jackie Steele of Rasharkin in 2020. She has won numerous prizes and her nestmate won 2 x1st in the old bird season including 3rd Combine Fermoy. Sire is a son of Jackie's good 38 cock and dam a sister to his famous 02 hen. The Eagleson loft has now topped the Combine on three occasions this season. Ballymena & District HPS 5/64 – J Eagleson & Sons 1296, W & J Smyth 1218, Blair & Rankin 1161, J Eagleson & Sons 1119, Blair & Rankin 1110, Reynolds & McCormick 1110, J Eagleson & Sons 1098, Blair & Rankin 1086.

Fermoy & Fermoy 5bird 28/8/21: Ballymena & District 5/40 – R Service & Son 1367, Blair & Rankin 1361, R Service & Son 1359, Blair & Rankin 1350, R Service & Son 1335, Blair & Rankin 1314, W & J Smyth 1307, 1301, R Service & Son 1300, Blair & Rankin 1296. Robert Service and son Robin were the club winners here timing at 15.02pm. Sire of the winner is their good 32 cock a winner of 5 x 1sts and the dam was a Derek Parr Soontjen through clubmate Davy Jackson. Bertie Blair was best in the Fermoy 5 Bird timing at 15.04pm. This mealy hen was winning for the second time in the young birds having won both the club and MA Combine from Roscrea. The sire has also bred "Faith" Bertie's Talbenny YB National Open winner of 2019 and the dam was from Paddy and William McManus of Ahoghill. This hen was direct from Peter Stakenborg of Belgium and is a daughter of his foundation pigeon he calls "Poulidor"

Tullamore Comeback 4/9/21: R Service & Son Top Combine from Tullamore - The penultimate inland race of the season was the comeback event from Tullamore in County Offaly. The birds were released at 12 noon on Saturday 4th September in a light southeast wind. The best bird in the Mid Antrim Combine was timed at 14.33pm to the Drumtara lofts of Robert Service & Son Robin of the Ballymena & District club to record velocity 1434. Their winning red cock now named "Wee Rab" was sent driving it's hen and is C & C Lambrecht’s from Swannington Lofts of Leicestershire. The sire is a double grandson of Ref A cock Bill Duckworth's and the dam is inbred to "Liam" Last week the cock was placed 2nd club and 14th Combine in the Fermoy 5 bird. This was the Service lofts second Combine win of the season having topped both Combine and Section from Roscrea in the second week of the old bird season. I think anyone who knows Robin will be truly happy for him after this result having in the past month suffered the loss of his mum Eva and his dad and racing partner Robert.

Talbenny YB National 4/9/21: Ballymena & District HPS 5/27 – W & J Smyth 1251, Blair & Rankin 1209, W & J Smyth 1209, R Service & Son 1207, 1071. William & Joe Smyth win their eighth race of the season and have their sixth channel win. Including in those wins is 1st Combine Talbenny, 1st Open NIPA Penzance and 1st Open Penzance Old Bird Classic with "Ken Aird Lad". Today's winner a blue cock again contains the bloodlines of Jackie Traynor of County Durham. Jackie's birds have been responsible for countless winners over the years for the Smyth Lofts on the Carniny Road.

NIPA Skibbereen YB National 11/9/21: Ballymena & District HPS 2/16 – R Service & Son 1059, 1059, Blair & Rankkin 1019, R Service & Son, R Service & Son. Last week’s Tullamore Combine winners Robert Service & Son made it three club wins on the trot. Sire of their winning Blue Pied hen is their old Soontjen cock that is sire of 12 x 1sts. Dam is a gift hen from Jimmy Rock of Harryville HPS. This pair have already bred 1st prize-winners

INFC Skibbereen YB National 18/9/21: The final young bird race of the season was the INFC Skibbereen YB National flown on Saturday 18th September. Birds were released at 9.30am in calm conditions. Robert Service & Son of Ballymena & District had the best bird in the local area timing at 14.31pm to win 1st Mid Antrim Combine, 12th North Section and 29th Open National 1555 birds. Robin has the youngsters in excellent form at present having won the last four races in the club. Their winner a lovely blue pied hen was 1st Club in the NIPA Skibbereen YB National last weekend. Her Soontjen sire has now bred them 13 x 1st prize-winners. Their winning hen is also half-sister to their good 5 x 1st Cock and half-sister to another cock that has bred them 2 x 1st Combine winners and a 1st Section B winner. Another half-sister to the winner has bred them another 1st Section B winner. Definitely an excellent line of Soontjen's. The dam was a gift hen from Jimmy Rock of Harryville and is bred from Jimmy's good 6 x 1st winner. That's 3 x 1st Combine winner's for the Service lofts this season having topped the Combine and Section from Roscrea in old birds and from Tullamore a couple of weeks ago. Mervyn Eagleson PO.

The show season for Ballymena & District HPS will commence on Monday 1st November in the local clubrooms at Fountain Place, penning from 7.00pm until 8.00pm. The kickoff classes are for Old Cock T/W and Young Cock T/W to be followed on Monday 8th November with classes T/W from Old Hen and Young Hen. The show team are Darren Swann, Robert Alexander and Willy Gilbert, any further info required contact Darren Swann on Tel: 17858 227772. The Open Show will be arranged again for New Year’s Day. Mervyn Eagleson PO. Other local clubs should supply their prize and cup list for publication and all the Mid Antrim Combine cups should be returned for engraving.

HOMER. Willie Reynolds

Tel/Fax: (028) 256 44683

Mobile: 07538 238364

Twitter: willie reynolds@homerbhw>

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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