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INFC Race Report by Homer - 12-07-22

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INFC Race Report by Homer

INFC Grand National Kings Cup Huge Success

Grand National St. Allouestre King’s Cup was flown on Friday 1st July 2022. Sponsored by Frazers Animal Feeds in Banbridge. Following the previous weeks St Malo Nat & Derby event the weather remained uncertain, but the birds were raced marked as planned and everything was set for a liberation on Friday.

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This week the biggest Race of the Year the I.N.F.C Grand National St. Allouestre King's Cup was held on Friday the 1st of July. All fanciers sent their 20 Bird Limit teams for race marking through the designated I.N.F.C Centre in Lisburn on Tuesday the 28th of June with the everyone full of nerves and excitement on the potential possibilities of winning the King's Cup. This race is by far the most anticipated race of the calendar year with a total of 492 Members from throughout the Island of Ireland entering 2,119 Birds competing for £26,418 in pools and prize money.

Winning the King's Cup is every pigeon fanciers dream no matter what kind of pigeon you race, where you are from, how long you have been racing, none of this matters as this race lives up to its billing with winners of The King's Cup, Past and Present,  all have their name forever etched into the History of the Sport, and especially outside of it being long remembered for winning it.

The Lorries embarked on their journey from Lisburn to the North of France to the Liberation Site in St. Allouestre. The I.N.F.C got the-all clear from the race controlling team and liberated 2,119 Pigeons at 6:00 am in a Light Northerly Wind. The Race point is approximately 460 miles from club members respective lofts in Newry & Mourne Area. The first pigeons flight time into the Newry Centre was 10 hours and 58 minutes - The King's Cup is Won in Newry City. Text J Hughes. PO.

1st North Section, 1st Open C McArdle & Sons Newry City Inv, Vel 1258 flying 470 miles. Winning £3,150 and King George V Challenge Cup

The I.N.F.C Grand National St. Allouestre King's Cup 2022 winner is C McArdle & Sons of Newry City Invitation in County Down. This year’s King's Cup winners are two brothers Stephen & Brian (Brew) McArdle. Their lofts are situated in Banbridge some 470 miles from St. Allouestre and they race under C McArdle & Sons in Newry City Invitation H.P.S.

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The I.N.F.C Grand National St. Allouestre King's Cup 2022 winners C McArdle & Sons of Newry City Invitation.

The McArdle lads have always had a keen interest in Long Distance Racing in their 50 plus years racing the pigeons. I got in contact with Brew and Stephen McArdle for little insight into their win and their experience of the weekend.  

"We always liked racing from across the Channel and further into France." "We had entered 3 of our birds into the race and little did we know it would only take the one to win it." "We anticipated the birds to make their way across into Ireland from 4 onwards." Next thing at 16.58 our 2-year-old Blue Cheq Pied hen flew over the top of our heads and straight onto the landing board of our loft." "We got the shock of our lives and such an adrenaline rush as we couldn’t believe it when we saw her arrive the whole way from France".

(Pictured below) Stephen took a photo of the bird as she just arrived home to the loft. The McArdles had to then go to the I.N.F.C Banbridge Centre shortly after timing to have their clock struck off and checked along with every other fancier who clocked to confirm times for the making out of a result.

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The Kings Cup winner “Eileen” arrives at the Newry City loft of C McArdle & Sons.

"We arrived at the Centre with our clock along with a few of the other lads at the centre." "We were just discussing the race and our times and after hearing our times everyone was saying, our time will be hard to beat and I don’t see anyone else with a better time than yours." "We couldn’t believe it that we were topping the I.N.F.C Banbridge & Newry Centre."

As time went on the McArdles where the talk of the Country as their time circulated from fancier to fancier. Later that night they got a phone call from the I.N.F.C Secretary Trevor Topping to confirm that they had won the King's Cup. "We couldn’t believe it when we were told that we had won the King's Cup." "You always dream that somehow one day what it would be like to win the biggest race of them all, but the dream has come true."

Stephen immediately put up on the 'Winners North South' Facebook Pigeon Group full of excitement "Just Won the King's Cup YEE HA!"  "This season our hen had a total of 3 N.I.P.A Inland races and a Talbenny and after that we privately trained her right up until the week before the King's Cup race."

"We would like to thank our good friend Mark Ewbanks, as the bloodlines are from Marks Lofts."

"We also decided to name the bird after our mother Eileen, as she was a great person and she never gave up just like this wee hen never gave up, to come home all the way from France to win us the King's Cup"  This is only the 2nd time that the King's Cup has been won in Newry Centre with Johnny Murtagh of Ballyholland H.P.S winning the Blue Riband event in 2019.

Brian and Stephen will be presented with the King's Cup at the I.N.F.C Presentation Night held at the Stormont Hotel in Belfast in November by last year’s winner Liam McCall of Wicklow who has won it twice. Now C McArdle & Sons of Newry City Invitation will be added to this star-studded list.

This will undoubtedly be the best accolade that the McArdle’s could ever achieve and the memories of Friday the 1st July 2022, will live long with them for the rest of their lives.

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A very happy Brian McArdle of C McArdle and sons winner of the 2022 Grand National Kings Cup from St Allouestre in France flying 470 miles in 10 hours 58 minutes with his champion hen “Wee Eileen”. Photo at Donnelly Feeds in Newry City – Many Congratulations 

Many congratulations to C McArdle & Sons. Jordan Hughes PO.

2nd North Section, 2nd Open G Douglas Blackwatertown, Vel 1219 flying 477 miles. Winning £1,032 and the Nelson Vase 1st RPRA member after winner in the Kings Cup

Former Kings Cup winner Geoffrey Douglas of Lurgan came so close again this season finishing the runner-up, as a young fancier he set a record by winning 1st Open and the famous Kings Cup in 1980 from Les Sables in a hard race recording velocity 954ypm.

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Ace racer and former Kings Cup winner Geoffrey Douglas from Lurgan came close again in 2022.

This year his “Jim's Girl” bred and raced by Geoffrey Douglas had 1st Club, 2nd North Sect & 2nd Open INFC racing into the Lurgan based Blackwatertown. Details as requested. 3year old D/Ch hen. Sire, Van Dyke Kannibaal lines through Mick Purcell of Dublin. Dam, Van Loon through Safet Duran of Dublin. Sent sitting 14 days having flown 3 inland races inc. INFC Skibbereen Nat and 1st Talbenny. She was then trained to Skerries twice a week.

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“Jim's Girl”. Bred and raced by Geoffrey Douglas. Winner of 1st Club, 2nd Open Irish National Flying Club Old Bird National Kings Cup 2022.

1st South Section, 3rd Open B & P Emmett Boyne Valley, Vel 1216 flying 430 miles. Winning £1,970 and the Joe Cullen Memorial Cup for 1st East Coast Fed (Dublin) member in the Kings Cup.

Brian Emmett supplied the following. The pigeon is a 3yo cock, I sent him and his hen sitting 10 days on eggs. He mother was our St Malo 1st Open winner in 2019 and his sire is one of the last pigeons we got from my late father Spike. His mother was also from Spike's loft. My brother Martin could fill you in on the blood. Paula was waiting in the garden undercover as it was raining from about 3 o'clock knowing that the pigeons were in good form, I came home from work at 4 thinking that they would be home about 6.00pm. We were sitting under the pergola out of the rain, and I didn't have to wait long as the pigeon came along at 4.22pm, it landed on the roof along with another pigeon and thankfully he went straight in. We were over the moon with the pigeon as last year it took him a week to come home from the King's Cup, but knew he'd be going back this year as he was coming good. He was 18th Fed from Talbenny 2 and came well from Bude, Hhs hen came home at 8.30am the next morning.

brian emmett 12 07 22    emmett bird 12 07 22

Brian Emmett with the bird just after arrival to collect 1st South Section and 3rd Open INFC in the Kings Cup & The bird just after arrival for B & P Emmett in Boyne Valley, 1st ECF and fantastic 3rd in the Kings Cup.

2nd South Section, 4th Open Devine & Hilmi Skerries, Vel 1211 flying 414 miles winning £631

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Devine & Hilmi from Skerries in Dublin finish a good 4th in the Kings Cup 2022, and runner-up in the East Coast Federation.

Derek Devine sent me the following after my phone contact and thanks as well to Des Murray for his assistance in this area. We are delighted with our national results so far this season.  Being 125th open Skibbereen national, 12th open yearling national and 4th open Kings cup.  With stock from Ken Gilday and Derek Walton.  We were particularly delighted with having the 1st yearling in the Kings cup.  This bird has been 7 open Bude East Coast fed as well as flying Talbenny and the Yearling national.  It’s dam is down from a grandson 1st open Miller gold cup winner in 2005 and granddaughter of the Yearling national winner 2005.  On the sire side is from our own stock Maarten  Vinkenborg line.  It was sent to the Kings cup sitting 10 day eggs and result was pleasing.

3rd North Section, 5th Open N Black & Son Dromara, Vel 1209 flying 471 miles winning £443

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3rd North Section, 5th Open adds to the CV for N Black & Son Dromara. David and Alan Black of N. Black & Son Dromara, holding the first two bids from the Kings Cup 5th and 153rd Open INFC. 

Yet another top performance to add to the ever-growing CV for one of the top distance lofts in Northern Ireland racing into Dromara in County Down and a record-breaking list of achievement, former winners and many other Cups and Diplomas in the INFC. N.Black & Son Dromara 3rd North section 5th Open, the loft timed five in the open result the others being 153rd, 197th, 205th and 241st Open. Previous Kings Cup winners this is the twentieth time the loft have made the Top 10, they are also double National Champions won three Hall of Fames a Triple award and a Gold medal. They have also won four Harkness Rose bowls ana a Friendship National. The pigeon timed was a two-year-old grizzle cock named Bobby after good friend Bobby Stevenson who bred the great grandfather for the partnership. Bobby had three races in preparation for the Kings Cup Corrin, Talbenny one and Fermoy comeback plus plenty of 60 miles training tosses. He was sent sitting eggs fourteen days. His sire is a son of Fiona 13th Friendship National plus 10th and 61st Kings Cup when paired to the sire of Jean 1st Section 3rd Open NIPA St.Malo. The dam is a full sister to the dam of the Tin Man 6th open NIPA St.Malo, being a daughter of the lofts Gold Medal winner Big Darren when he was paired to a daughter of Rocky who was 5th and 8th Kings Cup.

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“Bobby” 3rd North section and 5th open Kings Cup for N. Black & Son.

6th Open Roly & Podgie Brennan Three Counties RPC, Vel 1209 flying 387 miles winning £150

See photo fellow Carlow pigeon man, Roly Brennan holding the Blue Hen that was timed from this year’s Kings Cup race early on the day, winning a confirmed 6th Open. The hen is bred direct from pigeons obtained from the late Terence O’Brien of Dublin, a legend in his heyday and described by Roly as once in a lifetime pigeons that have done everything asked of them, including winning ,Clubs, Feds, & National races. Well done Roly, great result. Francis Corcoran PO.

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Roly Brennan of Three Cointies RPC holding the Blue hen that was timed from this year’s Kings Cup race, winning 6th Open.

4th North Section & 7th Open C & H Beattie Gilford & District, Vel 1201 flying 476 miles winning £314

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Cyril Beattie and the next generation enjoy their 7th Open INFC finish from St Allouestre. Grandson Nathaniel Beattie holding 2nd Open I.N.F.C. Kings Cup 2013. Cyril Beattie holding 7th Open I.N.F.C. Kings Cup 2022, son of 2nd Open Kings Cup.

Another loft dedicated to long distance racing, Henry Beattie was a winner of the Kings Cup and son Cyril and wife Hilary have had several top positions since. Cyril said delighted to have clocked a pigeon in the I.N.F.C. King's Cup 2022 and to have achieved 7th Open. Well done to Stephen & Brian McArdle on the win, great achievement and all that have clocked. The pigeon that we clocked yesterday was the son of our 2nd Open Kings Cup pigeon from 2013.Three recent seasons pigeons all from one breeding line.

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Hilary Beattie holding 1st National winner I.N.F.C. Friendship National 2017.

5th North Section & 8th Open Ronnie Williamson Newry & District, Vel 1193 flying 460 miles winning £839

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Ron Williamson (r) collecting the Blue Riband Kings Cup from Gerry O’Reilly at the presentation in 2013. This season the loft wins 8th Open INFC.

Recent winner Ron Williamson an ace racer in the NIPA for many years gets close again to winning a second Kings Cup. Ron is one of the very few to be able to say he has won this prestigious trophy back in 2013 when he was racing the birds in Bondhill H.P.S. (Portadown). Pictured below being presented with the King's Cup in 2013. Just one week previous, Ron claimed 2nd National position from St. Malo pictured and now this week Ron finishes 2nd Newry Centre and wins Newry & District Club while also finishing overall 8th National and 5th North Section in the King's Cup while taking home a great sum of prize money for his positions. Ron now adds this triumph to his every growing list of honours he has achieved in his years of racing. Jordan Hughes PO.

Ron 2nd Open NIPA St Malo

One week earlier, Ron Williamson celebrated a 2nd Open NIPA finish in the St Malo OB Nat (France).

6th North Section & 9th Open Mark Ewbanks Newry City, Vel 1192 flying 470 miles winning £719

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Mark Ewbanks holding this year King' Cup Winner which is down from Marks own family of pigeons scoring at the distance for several years. In 2022 three pigeons in the prizes with his 4th bird just missing out of the placings. Mark finishes 9th National, 6th North Section; 28th National, 23rd North Section; 158th National, 123rd North Section; plus 2nd, 4th and 6th Newry City Club and 3rd, 5th and 12th Newry Centre. Outstanding racing. 

Mark goes by the name of Kings Cup birds on Facebook and he most certainly lives up to that name. Mark not only timed 4 Pigeons out of 5 but he also has the privilege of being able to say he his bloodlines has won the Kings Cup in 2022. A little background into Marks Bloodlines when 20 years ago Mark bought a hen from Davy Hutchinson. All three birds he clocked are great grandchildren of this hen and so is this year’s Kings Cup winner. First clocked is my Sootjen family crossed with a Busschaert hen from Chrisey North. Second clocked is my family crossed with a double granddaughter of Big Smithy from Ian Stafford. Third in the clock in my good hen that won Fermoy and Bude as a yearling then flew the kings cup last year out of race time. Mark has 3 Pigeons in the placings with his 4th Bird just missing out of the placings. Mark Finishes 9th National, 6th North Section, 28th National, 23rd North Section, 158th National, 123rd North Section. 2nd, 4th and 6th Newry City Club and 3rd, 5th and 12th Newry Centre along with a sum of pool prize money for his positions, Jordan Hughes PO.

3rd South Section & 10th Open Art Kelly Skerries, Vel 1191 flying 412 miles winning £95

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Another ace long-distance loft of Art Kelly from the Skerries holding his winner of 10th Open INFC St Allouestre.

Another very consistent loft racing in East Coast Fed, Art Kelly has a string of top INFC positions, including 1st Open Yearling National Sennen Cove in 1998, 3rd Open Friendship National and runner-up for the Kings Cup in 2016 when the race from St Allouestre was won by Mr & Mrs Magill from Muckamore recording velocity 723ypm. This year Art timed a 2-year-old blue cock the sire of which was John Catherwood Mr Messac bloodlines while the dam is Joe Doheny off his best distance bloodlines. The sire is also the g/sire of the lofts second arrival, and all the parents are flown France.


Paul Dunlop 12 07 22    Silver Medal award 12 07 22

Paul Dunlop of Edgarstown (Portadown) winner of the INFC Gold Medal, his second & The Silver Medal Diploma won by Paul Dunlop of Edgarstown.

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Hall of Fame Diploma awarded for 3 times Kings Cup, won recently by Paul Dunlop.

A massive congratulations to Paul on winning his Second GOLD MEDAL.  it’s not an easy task winning awards but one that Paul is used to his first was with (The Wee Hen) from the Friendship National.  He now wins his second from the Kings Cup with his 7 year old hen (the good hen) she is a DIRECT daughter off the (wee hen) outstanding breeding!! Paul is the only Fancier to win both in Northern Ireland/Ireland,  these are the things what we all dream of winning. Paul is without doubt one of the best long distance lofts in the country, he has built up a family of pigeons that have excelled over the years from France for him and others and has won the NIPA Old Bird Derby from France as well.  Well done again Paul from all the members of Edgarstown HPS.  Simmo Facebook.


Flown from Saint Allouestre, 1st July 2022 1st Seany Hughes, Coalisland, Vel. 1094, 36th Open

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Sean Hughes of Coalisland & District won the NIPA St Malo and one week later the Single Bird Challenge in the INFC from St Allouestre.

Joe Doheny Trophy, Framed Diploma, £400. 2nd A. & N. Lewis, Doagh & District, Vel. 1085, 40th Open Framed Diploma, £250, 3rd Glen Buckley & Sons, Annaghmore Vel. 1080, 42nd Open Framed Diploma, £150, 4th Cooley Bros. & Son, Newtown Kilpedder Vel. 1062, 47th Open £100, 5th Matthew Russell, Dromara Vel. 830, 89th Open £75, 6th John Greenaway, Bondhill Vel. 803, 96th Open £50, 7th Austin Gage, Ballymoney Vel. 708, 144th Open £50, 8th Paddy Arthur, Boyne Valley Vel. 707, 146th Open £50, 9th Aiden McAteer & Sons, Ballyholland Vel. 687, 160th Open £50, 0th Agar Bros, Cloughey Vel. 671, 171st Open £50.

Other Challenge birds timed in the Open result were E. Murtagh & Sons, Individual, (Vel. 668, 174th Open), G. Douglas, Blackwatertown, (Vel. 667, 176th Open), D. & J. Caskey, Bangor, (Vel.667, 177th Open), P. Murtagh & Son, Ballyholland, (Vel. 659, 181st Open), W. Gault & Son, Kingsmoss, (Vel. 646, 185th Open). McKeown & McEvoy, Castlebellingham, (Vel. 646, 186th Open), Robert Shaw, Corrigs, (Vel.637, 196th Open), Colm Reid, Balbriggan, (Vel. 633, 198th Open), T. Mooney & Son, Millvale, (Vel. 632, 200th Open), N. Black & Son, Dromara, (Vel. 625, 205th Open), Alan Darragh, Cullybackey, (Vel. 587, 235th Open), L. & R. Barr, Crossgar, (Vel. 577, 242nd Open), Gary Benson, Lisburn, (Vel. 573, 248th Open). Objections to Secretary T. Topping in writing or by email within 7 days.

The INFC Committee are grateful once again for all the help at the race marking, and also all those involved in the various Clock Centres across Ireland including the temporary stations an Edgarstown in Portadown, Newry/Banbridge and Coleraine, every little bit of help is appreciated. On a personal note, many thanks to all those who supplied text and photos for this report or helped in any other way. The more info we get the better job can be done, any little snips, details of the bird itself plus info on the sire and dam. Any awards won previous, how long in the birds etc. ASAP after the race. Just to finish well done to the Race Control team Al Larkin and the lads newly installed and its so far so good. An almost impossible job with plenty of experts looking on, this time there is nothing to report with one of the best Kings Cup races, for a number of years. Well done to all concerned when they have success they need congratulated. Later on in the season I will feature reports and results on the Clubs/Feds and Combines and add some photos not included in this Top 10 report.

I have been in hospital for 15 days in June due to a fall which resulted in a fractured hip. Only released home on 29th June and my race reports will be running late. Those finishing in the INFC Top 10 for Sennen Cove Yearling, Kings Cup and Friendship National should forward bird info and a photo of bird/partnership if possible, ASAP. Either through phone message, WhatsApp or e-mail. Contact details are in the INFC Race Book. Reports will be published as I get them finished, please be patient.

Homer - Willie Reynolds INFC Press Officer

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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