INFC Presentation 2021
Champions Night in Stormont Hotel, Belfast
After missing out last season with no INFC race programme the members and friends of the all-Ireland Irish National returned to the Stormont Hotel in Belfast for the presentation of awards including the annual dinner for 2021. As with everywhere else numbers had to be reduced due to the ongoing restrictions the overall numbers attending were around 100 well down from the usual but it was good to see a number in attendance from Dublin and as far away as Waterford. Those travelling to the event had to contend with extra traffic for Black Friday and the latest storm Arwen which resulted in all boats on the Scotch Route cancelled due to high winds. All in all, it was a very difficult year with many prizes not won and failing to fill all the positions in the highly popular Yearling Nat for the first time in the history of this race. The Blue Riband Kings Cup had only one bird recorded on the day from Saint Allouestre in France while the Grand Nat event for the young birds were raced from the shorter point of Bude in Cornwall and only a handful of arrivals made home in race time.
Overall, the doom and gloom but still some fantastic records were set and a credit to those who support the long-distance racing in Ireland. Patron Ronnie Johnston was at his best and had prepared a list relating to a number of the major cup’s and many of the top lofts that Irish Rover has been reporting on, well established long before I started. Starting with the Kings Cup a fantastic win for Liam McCall of Wicklow who had the only bird on the day from Saint Allouestre and his “Home Alone” was to win the Kings Cup Grand National at 377 miles for the lofts second win. His previous occasion was quite recent in 2017 again clocking first and winning 1st Open INFC with “Champion Chloe” these two wins in just five seasons will take some beating and remember we had no race programme in 2020. In the modern era of racing two wins are unique, the late McDowell Bros from Newtownards won in 1953 from Redon and again in 1973 this time from Nantes a gap of 20 years. Life Vice President Joe Doheny from Malahide & District was to repeat this with wins in 1982 from Les Sables and again 20 years later in 2002 from Redon. In recent seasons Capper Bros from Bondhill Social have been 2nd this season and previously 3rd, 4th and 5th Open – a loft to watch!
Liam McCall (r) collects the Kings Cup for the second time from the 2019 winner Johnny Murtagh, President Clifford Browne is included.
“All Alone” the Blue Riband Grand Nat and Kings Cup winner for Liam McCall of Wicklow.
The second France race of the Year the Friendship Nat was this season flown on the same week due to weather problems from Lamballe and overall winner was the popular Tom McClean from Annaghmore helping to secure the INFC National Champion award for the second time his previous win was 2017 and this double has only been achieved on one other occasion by N Black & Son of Dromara. Just 42 birds were recorded in the Kings Cup and just 67 from, Lamballe. Now let’s look at the best supported race on the programme the Yearling National which was introduced by myself at an AGM many years ago. Alan Darragh was to win this premier event for a third time and giving him at present the INFC record of 7 x 1sts which included the Kings Cup. In his first season winning the loft scored 1st & 3rd Open, the second occasion he had 1st, 2nd & 3rd Open and then this year he collects the Nelson Corry Cup with Champion Swallo Brae Seven, also 2nd Open from Sennen Cove.
National Champion for the second time Tom McClean from Annaghmore was the only loft to time a bird in every race of 2021.
Another award I put forward many years ago was the Gold Medal for a bird in the prizes on four occasions, the Hall of Fame was for three results, and this was for a bigger test. That’s exactly how it has turned out with just 13 individual winners over the 40-year history, and we had to wait until 2021 to have the first winner in the South Section. Joe Doheny timed his Hall of Fame winner “The Beast” at 8 years of age to secure the Gold Medal and join the list of many greats.
The Skibbereen races were promoted by Patron Ronnie Johnston who has been a lifetime member and this year both the Old Bird and Young Bird Skibbereen events were won by a single loft that of Derek Walsh of Waterford I don’t believe this was ever done before. In the Young Bird Nat he had the Top 9 birds and bred the 10th Open as well, the first two birds finished exactly on the same velocity even with ETS and he had a double 1st to add to the Old Bird. 3 x 1st NAT winners in the INFC in one racing season will probably be unbeatable.
Derek Walsh from Tower Invitation in Waterford won both the OB & YB Skibbereen Nationals
“Best Sagan” winner of 1st Open INFC Skibbereen Old Bird in 2021 for Derek Walsh.
The joint YB National winners for Derek Walsh, never done before this.
Not so easy in the Grand Nat YB which was flown at the shorter distance from Bude and just 11 birds home in race time. Best of the lot was in the Lurgan Social to the top loft of D & B Lyness who was to win 1st Open and the J M K McGugan Cup following immediately behind his good friend Kevin Henderson the Chairman in Lurgan Social who won the event in 2019. We long remember the racing achievements of Castles & Lyness from the past racing, and almost unbeatable in Lurgan and former NI Fanciers of the Year.
D & B Lyness from Lurgan Social won the J M K McGugan Cup for 1st Open Grand Nat Bude Young Bird.
“Jackie” the YB Grand National winner from Bude for D & B Lyness of Lurgan.
Double Kings Cup winner Joe Doheny from the Malahide & District became the first loft in Southern Ireland to land the INFC Gold Medal bringing up the total number won to just 14, and each one, an individual champion. When he won the Hall of Fame Diploma in 2019 the following was published.
Joe Doheny from the Malahide & District was the first-time winner of the Gold Medal in the South Section – Just 14 won in 40 years.
“The Beast” the Gold Medal winner for Joe Doheny of Malahide & District.
Our next winner is one of Ireland’s top National fanciers Joe Doheny of Malahide. Joe also races with the East Coast Federation with whom he has topped the Fed many times. Joe tells me he timed his first pigeon from France back in 1965 and since then has spent a lifetime putting together a family of pigeons to compete at the top level of national racing. His record can only be described as outstanding, racing only a small team of birds. The highest entry Joe would send to France would be a team of 6. His wins with the I.N.F.C. are as follows; Joe has won the Kings cup twice and was 2nd Open to Liam McCall in 2017. He is also the winner of the Miller Gold Cup twice and was runner up on three occasions. He also placed 2nd Open I.N.F.C YB Penzance and has been I.N.F.C Nat Champion twice, now adding a Hall of Fame to this already bulging CV.
Joe has named his Hall of Fame winner “THE BEAST” as he is the most protective pigeon on the nest Joe has ever had, sometimes marking Joe’s hand with his temper. “The Beast” is a cracking 6-year-old check cock with a very impressive racing career. As a young bird He had 3 races, as a yearling he flew Talbenny & Penzance. Then as a two-year-old he flew two channel races and was sent to the Friendship National, arriving home at midday on the 2nd day just outside the result. As a three-year-old he again had two channel races and was then sent to the Kings Cup finishing 65th Open. The following year as four-year-old he again had his two channel races and then onto the Kings Cup where he finished 67th open. As a 5yr old Joe gave him 4 inland races plus the Kings Cup returning at 7am on the fourth morning just outside the 3 days race time. This year as “The Beast” had three 25-mile tosses prior to racing plus four inland races and a Bude, he was then sent to the Kings Cup finishing 112th Open and gaining a place in history winning the Hall of Fame Diploma.
On this special night Chairman Leonard McCavery welcomed the smaller than usual attendance and said the night would be a low-key affair with the absence of dancing till late. He introduced the top table and special guests on this occasion were Mr Sam Briggs and wife, Sam is President of the local RPRA (Irish Region) and sits on the RPRA Council. They were joined by Financial Secretary Trevor Topping and his wife Florence, with the retiring President Clifford Browne. Leonard thanked all those who organizes the event and gathering up the trophies and preparing them for the night. He congratulated all the winners especially the King’s Cup winner, Liam McCall from Wicklow in Southern Ireland.
Leonard went on to thank all our sponsors including, Frazer Animal Feeds, Bamfords Topflight, H Beattie & Son, Danny Dixon for Single Bird Challenge Diplomas, and British Homing World for results. He thanked all the committee members and all the other members who help every year at race marking and the various clock centres. He paid a special tribute to secretary, Trevor Topping and his family for all their hard work throughout the very difficult year. The Chairman thanked the Convoyer for many years Jim McCrory and his team for all their help and patience in the face of some difficult race decisions and the effort in getting the convoy to the race point for release. He paid tribute to the Race Controllers David Black, Tom Marshall, and Peter McKeown – this was the job nobody wants. He concluded by thanking the press team for race coverage and the management and staff of the Stormont Hotel for a lovely meal.
Irish National Flying Club - Trophy and Award Winners 2021
King George V Challenge Cup—Saint Allouestre. Grand National old bird race winner. L. McCall Wicklow South Road R.P.C. Vel. 934, Nelson Vase – Saint Allouestre O.B.-- 1st RPRA member after winner in Kings Cup race. Capper Bros. Bondhill Social H.P.S. Vel. 783, Gilliland Cup—Saint Allouestre O.B. -- 1st IHU member after winner in Kings Cup race. F. Moran Malahide & District R.P.C. Vel. 713East Down Combine Cup--Saint Allouestre O.B.--1st E.D.C. member in the Kings Cup race. Burns Bros Comber Social H.P.S. Vel. 694. Ulster Federation Cup –Saint Allouestre O.B. 1st Ulster Federation member in Kings Cup race. Not Won. N.I.P.A. Cup—Saint Allouestre O.B--1st NIPA member in Kings Cup race. Capper Bros. Bondhill Social H.P.S. Vel. 783. Joe Cullen Memorial Cup—Saint Allouestre O.B.--1st East Coast Fed. member in the Kings Cup race. F. Moran Malahide & District R.P.C. Vel. 713. Billy Ingle Trophy--- Saint Allouestre O.B.—1st Irish South Road Fed. member in the Kings Cup race. J. Cullen Bray Invitation R.P.C. Vel. 425. S.L.F. Cup--- Saint Allouestre O.B.—1st South Leinster Fed. member in the Kings Cup race. L. McCall Wicklow South Road R.P.C. Vel. 934 Duddy Extreme Distance Trophy-- Saint Allouestre O.B. Furthest flying member in the King’s Cup open prizes. M. Graham Ballymena & District H.P.S. (504 Miles), 19th Open Vel. 532. Harkness Rose Bowl—Saint Allouestre O.B.--Best two bird average Kings Cup. F. Moran Malahide & District R.P.C. Vel. 644 Joe Doheny Cup—Saint Allouestre O.B. Single bird challenge Kings Cup. Not Won Robinson Trophy—Saint Allouestre O.B. 14th position in Kings Cup. Massey & Duffy Newtown Kilpedder R.P.C. Vel. 567. McCloud Cup—Saint Allouestre O.B.--1st Yearling in the Kings Cup. Gordon Bros. & Sons Killyleagh Central H.P.S. Vel. 286
The Nelson Vase was won by the high-flying Capper Bros, in the Kings Cup the loft has been placed 2nd, 3rd, 4th & 5th Open INFC, collecting award from Sam Briggs.
Super season for Fintan Moran of Malahide & District, winner of Harkness Rose Bowl, Gilliland Cup and Joe Cullen Memorial Cup.
Martin Graham from Ballymena & District won the Duddy Extreme Distance Trophy in the Kings Cup flying 504 miles finishing 19th Open INFC.
Ronnie Johnston Challenge Cup--Skibbereen O.B-- Inland National. D. Walsh Tower Invitation R.P.C. Vel. 1392. Gerald Delaney Trophy—Skibbereen O.B.—Best section winning velocity after winning section. I. Rollins & Son Hillsborough & Maze H.P.S. Vel. 1383 Framed Diploma – Skibbereen O.B. – Lowest Section winning velocity. J. Boothman & Son Jun. Blanchardstown R.P.C. Vel. 1337
Friendship Cup—Lamballe O.B.-- Friendship National. T. McClean Annaghmore H.P.S. Vel. 1352. British Barcelona Club Trophy—Lamballe O.B.-- 2nd position in the Friendship National. M. Hughes Edgarstown H.P.S. Vel. 1316. John Millar Logistics Trophy -- Lamballe O.B. - 1st member in the section not winning the open. P. Rock & Son Dublin North-East R.P.C. Vel. 995 Henry Beattie & Son Trophy—Lamballe O.B.—Best two bird average Friendship National. A Thompson Ballyclare & District H.P.S. Vel. 1093. Irvine Trophy—Best Average O.B. Nationals Lamballe and Saint Allouestre. T. McClean Annaghmore H.P.S. Vel. 946.
Friendship Nat from Lamballe was won by Tom McClean, a super season for the Annaghmore ace.
“Sam’s Gift” the INFC Friendship Nat winner for Tom McClean.
Mark Hughes from Edgarstown wins the British Barcelona Trophy for 2nd Open Lamballe.
Arnold Thompson from Ballyclare & District had the Best 2 Bird Average from Lamballe.
Nelson Corry Trophy—Sennen Cove O.B.—Yearling National. A. Darragh Cullybackey H.P.S. Vel. 1248 James McGrugan Memorial Cup Sennen Cove Yearling National—Section winner not winning the
Alan Darragh from Cullybackey won the Nelson Corry Cup three times winner of 1st Open in the Yearling National.
“Swallow Brae Seven” the Yearling Nat winner for Alan Darragh
open. Byrne & Bradley Newtown Kilpedder R.P.C. Vel. 1121. Sam Buckley Memorial Cup – Best two bird average Sennen Cove Yearling National. A. Darragh Cullybackey H.P.S. Vel. 1247. Charles Ingle Memorial Trophy—10th Open position Sennen Cove Yearling National. McComb Bros. Killyleagh Central H.P.S. Vel. 1164
J.M.K. McGugan Perpetual Cup--- Bude —Y.B. Channel Grand National. D. & B. Lyness Lurgan Social H.P.S. Vel. 969. William Erwin Memorial Cup- Bude- 1st South Section in Channel Y.B. National. Gregory Bros. Rathnew R.P.C. Vel. 546. De-Scheemaecker Trophy-Bude Y.B- Best two bird average in Channel Y.B. National. G. Buckley & Sons Annaghmore H.P.S. Vel. 798. Robin Duddy Trophy. Bude Y.B. Furthest flying member in the Young Bird channel national open prizes. G. Buckley & Sons Annaghmore H.P.S. 2nd Open (264 miles) Vel. 809.
Gregory Bros from Rathnew win 1st South Sect in the YB Grand Nat for the 3rd time, on (l) Jim Braniff who bred the latest winner.
Tom Marshall Trophy—Skibbereen—Y.B. Inland National D. Walsh Tower Invitation R.P.C. Vel. 1622. Framed Diploma -- Skibbereen – Y.B. Inland National Middle section winner. J. Boothman & Son Jun. Blanchardstown R.P.C. Vel. 1460. Framed Diploma – Skibbereen --- Y.B. Inland National North section winner. Johnston Bros. Colin H.P.S. Vel. 1578
Johnston Bros from the Colin HPS in Belfast won 1st North Section in the YB Nat Skibbereen.
Average Cups & Trophies
J. Gilmour Memorial Cup—Best average Saint Allouestre O B and Sennen Cove Yearling Nationals. Capper Bros. Bondhill Social H.P.S. Vel. 867. A. Darragh Cup Best average Sennen Cove Yearling and Lamballe Friendship Nationals. T. McClean Annaghmore H.P.S. Vel. 1229. Jarvis Cup—Best Average Bude and Skibbereen Y.B. Nationals. D. & B. Lyness Lurgan Social H.P.S. Vel. 1143. Rhead Trophy Best Average – Saint Allouestre O.B. and Bude Y.B. Nationals. T. McClean Annaghmore H.P.S. Vel. 510 Diamond Cup—Best Average Saint Allouestre O.B. Sennen Cove Yearling and Bude Y.B. T. McClean Annaghmore H.P.S. Vel. 603. Harkers Trophy—Best Average Sennen Cove Yearling and Bude Y. B. Nationals. D. & B. Lyness Lurgan Social H.P.S. Vel. 1047. Charles Hunniford Memorial Trophy --- Best average (North Section) Skibbereen O.B. & Y.B.Nationals. A & N Lewis Doagh & District Vel. 1403. The New North Cup --- Best Average Sennen Cove Yearling, Saint Allouestre Kings Cup, Lamballe Friendship, Bude Young Bird Nationals. T. McClean Annaghmore H.P.S. Vel. 722. President’s Cup--- Best Average Saint Allouestre Kings Cup, Sennen Cove Yearling, Bude Y.B. and Skibbereen Y.B. Nationals. T. McClean Annaghmore H.P.S. Vel. 676. De-Scheemaecker Trophy--Runner up best average all races. Not Won. Erwin Trophy—Best Average all races. T. McClean Annaghmore H.P.S. Vel. 814.
A & N Lewis from Doagh won the Charles Hunniford Memorial Trophy Best Ave Skibb OB & YB (North Section).
GOLD MEDAL AWARDED FOR A PIGEON FOUR TIMES IN THE KING’S CUP PRIZES
J. Doheny Malahide & District R.P.C. Blue Chequer Cock GB13V 03179
2016, 62nd Open, 2017, 60th, 2019, 112th Open, 2021, 39 th Open.
LADIES PRIZES WON BY D. Walsh, A. Darragh, L. McCall, T. McClean, D. & B. Lyness and D. Walsh
The Ladies Prizes were presented by INFC Patron Ronnie Johnston.
Friendship National Merit Awards 2021 (Same bird twice in the INFC Open Result)P. Rock & Son, Dublin North- East R.P.C. Blue Chequer Cock GB17X 38500
Lamballe Friendship National 2019 41st Open, Lamballe Friendship National 2021 18th Open
King’s Cup Merit Awards 2021 (Same bird twice in the INFC Open Result)
Kings Cup collection from (l) Liam McCall double winner, Joe Dohnsy Double winner, Willie Capper 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th and Alan Darragh 1st and winner of 7 x 1st Nat INFC.