INFC Race Report by Homer
Killyleagh loft wins Friendship National from St Malo –
The second race from France each season is the Friendship Nat and over the years has attracted the majority of what we might call out and out distance lofts, entry would go up and down but would usually sit at around 1,000 birds. In the early days we were convoyed by the Up North Combine forming a great relationship, it was quickly added to the overall National Average and National Champion and over the years has been won by numerous top lofts household names in the sport and that includes several Kings Cup winners. The early winners were the following and the full list of winners is published in INFC History on pigeonnetwork.com
1973 Beauvais – Fleming Bros Crumlin, 1974 Beauvais – H Stockman, Ballynahinch, 1975 Beauvais – A McDowell & Son, Newtownards, 1976 Beauvais – Jennings & Rea, Ballynahinch, 1977 Falaise – J W & T Harper, Ballymena & Dist, 1978 Falaise – J Waugh, Newtownards, 1979 Falaise – H Beattie, Laurelvale, 1980 Beauvais – J Anderson, Cullybackey.
1st Open & 1st North Sect R Straney Killyleagh Central, Vel 1061 flying 426 miles, winning £206 and the Friendship Cup for the winner.
Bobby Straney of Killyleagh Central, 1st Open INFC St Malo Friendship National.
At 6:00am on Saturday 8th July almost 1000 racing pigeons from lofts across the length and breadth of Ireland were released in St Malo on the north coast of France, competing in the Irish National Flying Club’s Friendship National. Given the conditions on the day, with the birds flying into a Northwest wind, a difficult race was expected and so it turned out.
At 5:47 that afternoon a Black Chequer belonging to Bobby Straney, who races in the Killyleagh Central HPS, arrived home and was registered on the lofts electronic timing clock, Given the lack of reports on social media of birds arriving in the North a bird at this time, within 12 hours from release, was considered an early arrival.
On checking arrivals at the clock stations across Ireland that evening it was clear that Bobby’s bird was indeed the winner of the Friendship National. Bobby was naturally totally overwhelmed. As he put it “You try for years to win a National and you convince yourself that it is impossible to win a such a race in this little corner of Ireland, and then you do it, unbelievable”
Bobby, through his club, is a member of both the East Down Combine (EDC) and the Northern Ireland Provincial Amalgamation (NIPA) and is the first member of the EDC to win the Friendship National, another First for Bobby. Bobby’s had an excellent race overall, in addition to winning the race he timed two further birds finishing 30th open and 44th open.
The first 2 birds had already demonstrated their long-distance abilities and stamina having timed from Penzance in Cornwall 3 weeks before the Friendship National, when they were 7th and 14th club. Bobby focuses on these longer distance races and has built his current team around strains of birds brought in with this in mind.
The pedigrees of the birds include Eurodiamond, Jan Theelan, and birds from his good friends Kevin Carolan and Willie Neill. Bobby would also wish to express his congratulations to all the members of the Irish National Flying Club who competed in the race and timed birds. He wanted to especially thank the Convoyer Jim McCrory who looked after the birds on their journey to St Malo and when they were at the liberation site. As Bobby put it “the birds were in excellent condition when they arrived home after such a gruelling race.” Colin Watson PO.
2nd Open & 1st South Section F Moran Malahide & District, Vel 1057 flying 383 miles, winning £890 and British Barcelona Trophy for 2nd Open, John Millar Logistics Trophy 1st member in Sect not winning the Open.
Fintan and Aoife Moran 2nd Open in the Friendship National & The winning Blue cock for F Moran, 1st ECF, 1st South Sect & 2nd Open INFC St Malo.
Fintan writes - Firstly I would like to congratulate the winner R Straney on a very brave bird up to Killyleagh in County Down and Hand & partner Kallmeyer of Skerries on outstanding clocking in a testing race.
Josh Hand team Hand & Kallmeyer of the Skerries scoring big time in the INFC Nationals.
The preparation for my 2nd Open 4yr old cock started in April with being privately trained and having 3 inland races, the furthest Fermoy and last race Bude on the 11th June. He raced celibate up the land and sent to Bude sitting on eggs. He won 30th open East Coast Federation from Bude and was then prepared for the Friendship National where he was given a few 50 mile tosses, thanks Cora, and sent sitting on a 10 days old y/bird. He was the first bird clocked on the day at 4.38pm and I knew when I saw him at that time that he was after putting in a real effort.
His breeding is steeped in the very best of the old long-distance English pigeons. His sire was bred by Andy Parsons, Salisbury, from his Eric Cannon/George Burgess and Michael Spencer family. The g/sire of the cock won 1st Section, 5th Open Tarbes NFC for Andy in 2012 and the g/dam was a daughter of ‘Big Sam’ a NFC Diploma of merit winner (63rd , 70th, 130th and 72nd NFC Tarbes) when paired to Andy’s 15th open NFC Tarbes, a full sister to ‘Warpaint’, the Central Southern Classic Flying Club Champion Old Bird of the Year 2013, 11th open Tarbes and 17th open Bergerac in 2013). The dam of the cock was bred by the late Brian Tattersall, Oswaldtwistle, from his old family of English distance bloodlines and was purchased at Brian’s major dispersal sale. This family of pigeons bred the famous Perpignan Hen of Frank Kay, Bolton. The dam was line-bred from a son of ‘Dual Award’ paired to the dam of ‘Dual Award’. ‘Dual Award’ won a Region and National RPRA Middle Distance Meritorious award for Brian.
This cock in 2021 won 2nd open East Coast Federation and 31st open INFC Lamballe, arriving home having been hawked. For his efforts he wins a Merit Award in 2022. I want to acknowledge the great work of the convoyers as both my birds returned in immaculate condition and the INFC committee and helpers for all the work undertaken to facilitate racing. Finally, a big thank you to Aoife for helping during the year.
3rd, 4th & 5th Open Hand & Kallmeyer Skerries, Vel 1036, 1036 and 1034 flying 386 miles, winning £586 and Henry Beattie & Son Trophy for Best 2 Bird Average
That's my partner Hennie holding our first over the pad if you could give her a mention it would be great thanks, blue cock in first picture is the same pigeon. Team Hand & Kallmeyer of Skerries in Dublin & Blue cock winner of 2nd ECF, 2nd South Sect & 3rd Open INFC St Malo Friendship Nat for Hand & Kallmeyer of Skerries.
All 3 pigeons were yearlings, they raced the inland and channel programme out to Penzance. 1st pigeon blue cock is all N Black and sons blood, it was off our 10th National Friendship hen Wedding bells in 2018 when paired to a son off N Black and sons good pair.
The second bird was a blue cock which came with first pigeon was a grandson off Wedding bells 10th National which I gave Peter McKeown a lend of the 10th national he paired her to his Hall of Fame pigeon which I got a cock out of the nest and I paired this to the 10th Nationals mother these bred the second pigeon.
Our 3rd bird arrived 2 mins later a Check hen the best of Hennies Clausing bloodlines (Same line as 2nd open Penzance for our partnership a few weeks prior.
In finishing I just want to thank David and Alan Black for the blood of the first two birds, this is the second time these pigeons have helped us win the 2 Bird average in the Friendship national in 4 years.
I wouldn't have been able to send the pigeons only for my good lady who looked after them while I was away for 3 days prior to basketing, .and thanks to Gerry O’Reilly and Tom Speers for bringing the pigeons to marking station. Thanks Josh.
6th Open Donnelly Bros Millvale, Vel 1017 flying 434 miles winning £406
Richard Donnelly of Donnelly Bros Newry City holding their 6th Open INFC Friendship Nat winner.
Donnelly Bros - The Donnelly Brothers Richard and John have ended the Old Bird Season on a high topping Newry Centre. The Brothers had an exceptional Old Bird season especially from the Channel and French Races and as far as I know the partnership is the only loft to clock on the day in the three French races in all of Ireland north and south a tremendous achievement alone. The Lads timed 3 Birds finishing overall 6th, 67th and 78th National, 2nd, 52nd and 55th North Section. Taking 1st, 11th,13th in Newry Centre and while claiming the top 3 Positions in Newry City Inv. Club
The Brother’s winning pigeon is a 2-year-old Blue Chequer Hen now named ‘Wee Tilly’ She was sent to the race sitting 12 days on eggs. Before this race, this hen had been in good racing form this year for them from the channel races. Finishing 50th Open, 13th Section G out of Bude and then 13th Section G in the Penzance Classic Race.
Her Breeding - A granddaughter of our 2nd Open St. Malo hen ‘Smash Hit' when only 10 birds were timed in race time. she carries the bloodlines of N. Black and Son. She was paired to our Merit Award winner in the Friendship National ‘Lunch Time’ being 7th and 76th Open also narrowly missing out on the prizes one other year. Her Aunt was our first bird out of St. Malo National Race this year being 6th Open in the N.I.P.A being clocked at 10.31pm on the day. She is now a Bronze Diploma winner being 18th the previous year from St Malo. Her Sire was a gift bird from our good friend Gregory McEvoy. This cock won 7th North Section in the Skibbereen National I.N.F.C and carries distance blood lines from Rutz Bros. Jordan Hughes PO.
7th Open Larkin Bros Blackwatertown West End, Vel 1007 flying 449 miles winning £321.
Larkin Bros of Blackwatertown WE, the 49 Hen finished 7th Open INFC.
It gives me great pleasure to be writing another bit of info for one of our birds. The 49 hen is a product of the breeding plan we implemented back when we started racing in 2014. She is a great granddaughter of our Gold Ring Pair (Hereman Ceuster cock via Fourmula One lofts and a Billy Higgins SVR hen) her father was a top racing son of the 21 Cock, a multiple prize-winning racer put to stock and producing winners and breeders, and the Maurice Scheers hen, Dam of The Boss, our 5 bird OB 1st Open winner.
Her dam the 86 hen is a multiple prizewinning racer, a daughter of an Andy Smith van Breeman cock when paired to the Model hen, a direct Louis Thijs. She has earned her perch in the stock loft after this latest performance. Congratulations to all in the result. Alan Larkin PO.
8th Open Burns Brothers Comber Social, Vel 1004 flying 448 miles winning £198.
Paddy Burns Comber Social with grandson Leo 8th Open Friendship National St Malo.
In 8th Open we have the Comber lofts of Paddy Burns racing as Burns Bros, another well established and popular distance loft. The partnership was originally brothers Paddy and Hughie but when Hughie passed away Paddy decided to retain the partnership name in respect to his late brother. They are one of the very few lofts to win the INFC Gold Medal for a bird 4 times in the Kings Cup. The Grandam of this winner was Dolly who won the Hall of Fame Diploma. His bird this time was a yearling Blue Ch cock that had three cross channel races prior to St Malo, breeding the dam was a daughter of Wesley Sawyers Helen a Gold Medal winner herself and the sire was all his old bloodlines a son of his Rose Bowl cock that has produced a number of top winners, including 3rd and 8th in the Kings Cup.
9th Open Arnold Thompson Ballyclare & District, Vel 981 flying 462 miles winning £230.
The ever-consistent Arnold Thompson from Ballyclare had the best bird in East Antrim from Saint Malo to finish 9th Open INFC.
Arnold was 9th Open in the friendship National with a 2-year-old Blue hen sent to the race on a 2/3 day old Youngster. The sire of the hen was off a cock that was 10th in the Kings Cup. He timed a further two birds to be in the prizes. Dam was down of James Clelland and C & L Woodside breeding. Arnold has had a great year from the French races, he timed 5 birds in the Kings Cup to be in the prizes and was also 12th Open from St Malo. Must rank as one of not the best distance racers in Ireland in the results every year. Noel Higginson PO.
10th Open Norman Thompson Comber Central, Vel 925 flying 448 miles winning £254.
Norman Thompson with his single entry finished 1Oth Open INFC Friendship National.
Ace racer in previous years returned to the sport recently sending one bird and timing on the day. See photo of Norman Thompson holding his only entry in the Friendship Nation al finishing 10th Open. Norman is no stranger timing in these French races having previously won the Harkness Rose Bowl for 2Bird Ave. He has had many top positions in the French races including 4th Open in Kings Cup. His Clearance Sale in Chimney Corner was a record breaker at the time, he had a fantastic family of birds.
Jimmy Smyth & Son - Best In the Mid Antrim Combine From Friendship National
Jimmy Smyth of Ahoghill topped the MAC in the INFC Friendship National.
The INFC Friendship National was held on Friday 8th July with the birds liberated at 6.00am in calm condition. Jimmy Smyth & Son of Ahoghill FC had the best local bird winning 1st in the Mid Antrim Combine and 29th Open INFC National. Jimmy timed his yearling red hen sitting eggs 10 days at 10.26am on the second morning after her 474 miles fly. The sire is from Glenn Smith of Cookstown and the dam from Sam Murphy of Randalstown. Jimmy, always a good supporter of this race won 1st Mid Antrim Combine, 5th North Section and 8th Open INFC when the race was flown from Lamballe in 2019 when only 49 birds were recorded in race time. Runners up in the Combine were Chris & Robin McIntyre of Cullybackey who timed at 20.39pm on the second day flying 493 miles to their Dervock lofts. This 3-year-old blue cock raced roundabout all season and was then paired up for St. Malo and sent on 9 day old eggs. A good racer having been in the section and open prizes from Talbenny last season and Penzance this year. He is full brother to 5 x 1st prize-winners for the brothers including 1st club & 4th Section Talbenny YB National and 1st club & 10th Section Rosscarbery YB National. Last season Chris & Robin had the best bird in the local area from this race winning 15th Open National this season they finish 1st club & 64th Open. In 2019 the loft won 3rd Section B & 10th Open in the NIPA French OB National from St. Malo and only last week in the Kings Cup race from Saint Allouestre they were placed 1st Club & 110th Open. Good consistent flying from the lads. The only other Combine member to be placed in the open result was Ahoghill's William Livingstone who timed at 9.54am on the fourth morning. William's yearling chequer cock sitting on newly hatched chicks is bred down from his old stock that he has inbred over the years and is closely related to last season's 7th Section & 72nd Open NIPA OB National St. Malo. The cock had 1st Talbenny and Bude before being sent to the Friendship. William who races a small team timed in all the INFC channel races this season having been placed 2nd Combine & 108th Open Sennen Cove Yearling National, 5th Combine & 155th Open King's Cup Saint Allouestre and from this race 3rd Combine & 88th Open Friendship National St. Malo. Not many can say they recorded arrivals in all three races this season and considering these results were achieved with a total of 8 birds sent to 3 races. Top racing. Mervyn Eagleson PO.
Chris & Robin McIntyre of Cullybackey holding 1st Club, 2nd Combine & 64th Open Friendship National and 1st Club, 3rd Combine & 110th Open Kings Cup St Allouestre
William Livingstone holding 3rd Comb, 88th Open Friendship Nat, loft also placed in Kings Cup.
Mid Antrim Combine Saint Malo Friendship National - 1st Jimmy Smyth & Son Ahoghill 624, 2nd Chris & Robin McIntyre Cullybackey 444, 3rd William Livingstone Ahoghill 242
Danny Dixon tops MAC in the Kings Cup Grand National
Danny Dixons blue cock 1st Mid Antrim Combine & 12th INFC Nat Kings’ cup.
The INFC Kings Cups birds were liberated in Saint Allouestre on Friday 1st July at 6.00am in light northerly winds. Best bird in the Mid Antrim Combine was recorded by Danny Dixon of Dunloy who timed his 4-year-old blue cock at 18.47pm flying 515 miles to his lofts in Dunloy village. This cock was sitting on two small chicks and breeding is Wilf Reid. Dam is a daughter of his number one stock Cock "Darkie" Danny finished 1st MA Combine & 12th Open National 492/2118 The only other Combine member to time an arrival on the first night was Chris Moore who races in Ahoghill Flying Club. Chris timed his 2-year-old blue hen sitting 8 - 9 day old eggs at 20.14pm to win 2nd MA Combine and 51st Open INFC. This hen was first to the loft in last season's Penzance Classic winning 9th Combine and 12th Section B. Breeding is Soontjen x C & L Fryers hen from Dromara. This Fryer's hen is full sister to the mother of their 1st Section F & 26th Open NIPA OB Derby St. Malo a couple of weeks ago. Chris is very grateful to C & L Fryer's for kindly giving him the very best from their stock. Chris & Robin McIntyre the Cullybackey winners were next best timing on the second day to win 110th Open. The brother's timed a 2-year-old natural cock sitting on a 7-day old youngster. This cock had both Talbenny's and Penzance as a yearling and this season three inland races and both Talbenny's. The sire contains the bloodlines of former Yearling National winner Sandy McKendry of Cullybackey and dam a Van Elsaker hen of A & M Boyle, Windsor Social. Others timing on the second day making the prizes were seven times National winner Alan Darragh of Cullybackey with two birds 132nd Open & 240th Open, William Livingstone of Ahoghill 155th Open, Maurice Agnew the Kells winner 161st Open and D & H Kirkpatrick Cullybackey 249th Open. Mervyn Eagleson PO.
Chris Moore of Ahoghill bird won 2nd Combine & 51st Open Kings Cup Saint Allouestre.
Alan Darragh of Cullybackey with his 2 Kings Cup birds.
Mid Antrim Combine - St Allouestre Kings Cup - D Dixon Rasharkin 1180, C Moore Ahoghill 1042, C & R McIntyre Cullybackey 781, A Darragh Cullybackey 731, W Livingstone Ahoghill 705, McFarlane & Agnew Kells & District 691, A Darragh Cullybackey 587, D & H Kirkpatrick Cullybackey 576.
Homer - Willie Reynolds INFC Press Officer
Tel/Fax: (028) 256 44683
Mobile: 07538 238364
Twitter: willie reynolds@homerbhw>