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Friendship National Lamballe 01-08-19


After two testing events from France for the Irish, St Malo on Saturday 29th June followed one week later by the Kings Cup St Allouestre on Friday 5th July we had the INFC Friendship National flown for the second year from Lamballe.  Due to an unfavourable forecast race marking in Lisburn was delayed to the Wednesday with the birds released in Lamballe on Saturday 13th July at 6.00am in calm conditions. Just five gallant birds made home lofts on the day of liberation and what a result for Paddy Rock & Son from Dublin who were to win 1st & 2nd Open INFC. Despite the hard racing numbers were up for the second year on the trot with 225 members sending 1,001 birds to compete for £5,783 in pools and prizemoney, with the Friendship National sponsored once again by H Beattie & Son. The final total of birds confirmed, over the 3/4 days of the race were just 49. Paul Swindell from Newry City won 1st North Section and Hugh Weir from Ballyclare was best in the Muckamore Centre.


1st & 2nd Open P Rock & Son Dublin North East RPC, Vel 869 and 867 flying 377 miles, winning £1436 the Friendship Cup, British Barcelona Club Trophy for 2nd Open and H Beattie & Son Trophy for Best 2 Bird Ave

Paddy Rock holding Shane’s Pride (1st open) and son Martin with Shane’s Promise (2nd open).


The first pigeon timed is a yearling Blue Pied cock, he was having his 3rd channel race of the year after been in Talbenny with the ISRF on the 9th June flying over 6 hours and then the INFC Sennen Cove Yearling national on the 17th of June when he got a 11 and a half hour fly. His hen laid again soon after he returned from Sennen Cove and he was left sitting and flying for an hour morning and evening at home. These eggs had hatched prior to Lamballe and he was sent on young birds a couple of days old. His breeding ½ Willie Neill and ¼ Jimmy Anderson and ¼ our Kings Cup winner “Champion Jack”. His sire a 2010 bird was bought at the INFC Show and is a son of Willie’s triple award winner “Queen of the Silver Dollar”. He was a natural young bird and was given 2 races as a baby and stopped.


Our second bird is Cheq yearling cock. He was having his second channel race of the year after Penzance with the ISRF on the 22nd of June when he got just under an 8 & 3/4 hour fly. He was also left with his hen after Penzance and was sent to Lamballe sitting 14 days. His breeding is ¼ Jimmy Anderson ¼ our Kings Cup winner on the dam’s side.


His sire has some Jim Biss, our Hall of fame winner “Little PJ” and also our Kings Cup winners’ blood in him. He was a darkness young bird and raced most of the programme including Talbenny. Both cocks were raced on widowhood early in the season and then paired up for the channel races. The birds were raced on Versele Laga Champion plus, Vanrobeys Platteeuw and Vanrobeys super diet at different rates all season.


We would like to thank Willie Neill, and Jimmy Anderson for their part of the 2 birds breeding. We would also like to thank all the people who phoned, called and text to congratulate us over the last week and last of all Michael Gorman for his tireless work running the Clock Station for these races which takes over 3 days of his time. We have named the birds Shane’s Pride (1st open), and Shane’s Promise (2nd open). Paddy Rock & Son have now won both the France National’s, the other occasion was in 1997 winning the Kings Cup from St Nazaire at 459 miles with only bird timed on the day.


3rd Open Paul Swindell Newry City, vel 851 flying 433 miles winning £94 and John Millar Logistics Cup 1st member in the Sect not winning the Open

Winning 1st Northern Section is Paul Swindell of Newry City Invitation, his yearling chequer hen winning him 3rd open at a distance of 433 miles. She recorded a velocity of 851.63ypm, after nearly 15 hours, on the wing. When I spoke to Paul this is what he had to say.


Congratulations to everyone who managed to clock from what was a very difficult race. In particular I give my heart felt congratulations to Paddy Rock for the outstanding performance of clocking the winner and runner up, a truly magnificent performance. Everyone who knows me understands how important the Friendship National is to me, having won 2nd open and twice 4th open in the last 7 years. This year winning 3rd open says more about the quality of the bird than how I prepared her.


My ongoing battle with cancer has limited how much work I have been able to put into my birds this season. If it was not for the kindness of club mates who put my birds through each week and other good friends helping out around the loft, I would never have got a bird to a race this season. This is why the performance of this hen is truly remarkable.


She had my usual preparation for French pigeons. The customary 4 up Ireland’s followed by Talbenny and Bude with the comeback race her final race before being locked up until the day of basketing for the Friendship National. No secrets, no miracle systems just a cracker wee hen.


When she arrived, it was against the backdrop of the most glorious sunset this is why for ever more she will have the name Sunset Lady.


Sunset Lady was bred by myself and is a full sister to my 2013 4th open Friendship national winner Extreme Heat. Normally his brothers and sisters are kept for stock, as he has proved to be the top cock producer of winners in the loft, responsible for over 20 x 1st prize winners, including Queen of Le Mans the 1st bird to be clocked from a BICC National into Ireland in race-time.

“Sunset Lady” the winner of 1st North Sect and 3rd Open Lamballe for Paul Swindell of Newry.


Getting a second day bird (also home bred) to finish 23rd North section 30th open, was the icing on the cake, especially as she was another yearling hen. Finally I would like to thank everyone at the Irish national Flying club, for getting the race programme completed in what has been a very difficult season.


4th Open & 2nd North Section J Murtagh & Son Ballyholland, vel 781 flying 426 miles winning £261

Johnny Murtagh of Ballyholland in Newry City, holding his France Champions, 1st Kings Cup and 4th Friendship National.


Winner of 2nd North Sect & 4th Open INFC Lamballe for J Murtagh & Son, Ballyholland.


What more can be said About Johnny Murtagh of the Ballyholland Club in Newry City, on 5th July 1st Open St Allouestre and the Kings Cup and just 8 days later 4th in the Friendship Nat from Lamballe has there ever been a better average winner of the Irvine Trophy for the best average over the two races? 2019 is a season he will never forget. The Kings Cup winner was bred by James Cleland and his Friendship Nat bird was bred by Robert Kirkwood of the famous Kirkwood Bros of Lisburn, another gentleman in the sport. The yearling Cheq heh (the top five were all yearlings) was timed at 10.00pm on the wing 16 hours and sent to the race sitting eggs 12 days. This one had two races in Ireland and then Penzance prior to France, feeding is Frazers Jet Mix.


Robert Kirkwood explained the breeding line. The Cheq hen contains the bloodlines of some very good pigeons coming from some exceptional pigeon fanciers. The g/sire is a gift bird from good friend Francis Gilmore from his Maurice Wilkinson family x Litchfield and is a g/son of 1st Kings Cup for the late Maurice Wilkinson. The g/dam was purchased at a Charity Sale kindly donated by the very famous John Patterson from Belfast, several times EDC Fancier of the Year.


Dam of the Cheq hen is a full sister to 4th & 6th open E.D.C. and 79th open INFC Kings cup 2015. Her sire being gifted to me by Eddie Froggat and dam gifted to me by Paddy Phillips & Jim McGrath. The G/G/ Dam of the Cheq hen is a Litchfield and is full sister to dam of my own 12th open in the same race this year. 


5th Open Hugh Weir Ballyclare & Districct, vel 722 flying 460 miles winning £94


Ballyclare long distance ace fancier High Weir, 3rd North Sect & 5th Open Lamballe.


Ballyclare are one of the best distance lofts in the country and in this race Hugh Weir keeps the flag flying timing at 6.59am on the second morning to return the best clock to the Muckamore Station. Hugh timed his yearling hen on the second morning at 6-59am to be 3rd North Section 5th open with a velocity of 722. The hen was sent to the race sitting 14 days, prior to this race she had three races, the last race of which was the Yearling National where she was Hugh's third pigeon. She was not raced as a young bird but was well trained. The hen was bred by his good friends Higginson and Fasciolo, the dam was purchased by Noel at C & L Woodside's clearance sale and had flown St Malo as 2-year-old, the sire, was a direct Vandenabeele. A terrific performance for a yearling hen. Thanks to Noel Higginson for the info.


3rd South Sect & 6th Open Fintan Moran of Malahide & District, vel 722 flying 377 miles winning £852

Fintan Moran from Malahide & District and daughter Aoife his lucky charm.

“Twilight” timed by F Moran 6th Open INFC and Merit Award winner from Lamballe.


Fintan timed his well fancied bird and collected all pools and nomination, just two birds were sent. He wrote back the following. Firstly, I would like to congratulation Paddy and Martin Rock on winning 1st and 2nd National, a really great team performance. My 4-year-old hen, named 'Twilight ' by my daughter Aoife as this was her second time clocked on the day just before dark. In 2018 she was clocked at 9.50pm the last of 17 birds clocked on the day and ended up winning 20th National and this year was the 5th bird of 5 day birds clocked at 9.30pm and finished 6th National. She was paired at the start of the season and reared one young bird and then raced celibate. She has had plenty of experience on the channel and her preparation this year was 5 inland races, the furthest Castletown 160 miles. Following her last race on the 1st of June she was given a few 50-mile tosses, paired up and sent sitting on a 9-day young bird. Her breeding is the old Eric Cannon distance pigeons. Her sire was gifted to me by the great NFC Tarbes specialist Andy Parsons of Salisbury and his sire was 1st Section 5th open NFC Tarbes 2012, and the dam was 15th open NFC Tarbes (15hrs) in 2010. The dam of the hen was purchased from D and D Mc Fadden, the 2019 Tarbes NFC winner and is an inbred granddaughter of Snow Prince the winner of 1st Section & 4th open NFC Tarbes 2012. It was really wonderful to see her arrive just as it was getting dark and in absolutely lovely condition, a special thanks to the race convoyers. Finally, I would like to thank my wife Cora for the training and daughter Aoife for her help, without them all this would not be possible. The hen wins a Merit Award for her valiant efforts.


4th North Sect & 7th Open Glen Buckley & Sons of Annaghmore vel 684 flying 447 miles winning £250.

Glen & Jonny Buckley from Annaghmore in Portadown, ace racers.

Winner of 4th North Sect & 7th Open Lamballe, for Glen Buckley & Son

Another household name in the sport, having been 1st Open NIPA Lamballe in 2004, 1st Open NIPA Portland in 2005 and 1st Open NIPA Lamballe in 2007 plus many other top positions over the years including 2nd Open King’s Cup 2009, 7th Open King’s Cup  2010, 8th Open Friendship National 2010, 3rd Open Penzance Young Bird National in 2015 and 4th Open Kings Cup in 2017. The partnership is Glen and son Johnny who come from a very strong pigeon family in Portadown.  Glen and Jonny use a mixture of training and flying at home to keep the birds in form. Training was mostly twice a week with Stanley West from Clogherhead (40 miles), with private training in last couple of weeks.


Breeding of the 2-year-old Blue cock is ‘Buckley Soontjens’ It’s a Direct grandson of Kildarragh Sams Pride, winner of 2004 Old Bird National Lamballe 7th Open 2003. Breeder of multiple national winners and continues to be the heart of the Buckley breeding stud.


5th North Sect & 8th Open J Smyth & Son Ahoghill, vel 626 flying 471 miles winning £48

Jimmy Smyth from Ahoghill holding his winner of 1st MAC and 8th Open Lamballe.

We travel to Ahoghill Flying Club in Co. Antrim for 8th Open and to the lofts of Jimmy Smyth & Son James. This partnership clocked their 3-year-old Chequer w/f hen at 10.21am on the second morning after flying 471 miles. The hen was gifted to them by Harry Richmond of Ballymena & District when he left the sport and was broke in and never looked back. Bloodlines are former Yearling National winner Jack Rodgers & Son of Ballymena & District and the late Bill McClure of Kells & District who timed many birds from France over the years. Before being sent to the Friendship Nat the hen had Talbenny where she was placed in the open result and then Bude. She was sitting eggs 15 days. Winner of 1st Mid Antrim Combine, he follows club Chairman Tom Young who won the MAC in the corresponding race last season and timed the same bird again on the 3rd day. Many thanks to Mervyn Eagleson for the info.


4th South Sect & 9th Open Joe Doheny of Malahide & Dist, vel 626 flying 376 miles winning £605

Blue Cheq hen “Amy” winner of 9th Open Friendshil Lamballe for Joe Doheny.

Cheq Pied hen “Kate” winner of 13th Open Friendshil Lamballe for Joe Doheny.


Past President and former winner of both the Kings Cup and Friendship Nat Joe Doheny of Dublin needs no introduction and continues to perform at the very highest level. Information for Joe Doheny’s Friendship national pigeons are as follows. The first one was an all pooler and the second bird from only two sent finished 5th South Sect & 13th Open INFC.  Pigeon 1 “Amy” Blue Check Hen a 3-year-old. 9th Friendship National 2019, flown Talbenny and Penzance in 2017 & 2018. Flown Penzanze and Friendship National in 2019. The dam is Cyril Beaties 2nd open Kings Cup pigeon. Grand sire is “Robbie” who was 1st, 5th & 19th open in 3 consecutive nationals. Grand dam Jackie Warings Gold Medal Friendship winner. Pigeon 2 “Kate” Check pied hen - Nest Mate & full sister to “Amy”. 13th Friendship National. Many thanks to Gary Guildea and Fintan Moran for their help with this.


6th North Sect & 10th Open Malcolm Robinson of Bondhill vel 614 flying 447 miles winning £256

Malcolm Robinson of Bondhill, 10th Open INFC Lamballe.

One of Ireland’s top fanciers, Malcolm Robinson of the Bondhill club completes this report. Malcolm has a prolific record going back a number of years and some of the highlights are 3rd and 5th Open King’s Cup 1996, Winners of the Harkness Rose bowl in 2000 for the best two bird average from King’s Cup, 1st Open NIPA Lamballe Old Bird Derby 2001, 5th Open King’s Cup 2011, Hall of Fame winner in 2011 for a pigeon three times in the prizes from King’s Cup, 6th Open Yearling National 2015, 1st Open INFC Penzance YB Nat in 2016, 4th Open Kings Cup 2018. The high-profile list is endless keeping the Portadown Area to the fore in the major races. No bird detail before going to press.


9th Open Kings Cup St Allouestre, J Garrett of South Belfast

Jim Garrett of South Belfast, with his 9th Open in the INFC Kings Cup

Jim sent a photo and then a quick phone call to give me a bit of detail on his Kings Cup bird, he was out and in of the sport flying a few seasons in the Fortfield and then one day met Jimmy Hughes and he suggested why not join South Belfast where Jimmy is a long time member going back to when the club raced in the Ulster Federation and one of the biggest clubs in Belfast. Very recently the club joined the NIPA, and Jim has had the spark that should keep him going in the sport. Hid Dk Cheq yearling hen was not raced as a young bird, this year had races in Ireland, Talbenny, missed Bude and then had a 3rd Club Penzance sent to the Kings Cup on a big young bird. Sire was obtained from Alwyn Paddry from Doncaster who has supplied birds to another top NI Loft mated to Matt Rakes bird from G Delaney. I missed this one in the Kings Cup report.


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 over the days of the race, every little bit of help is appreciated. On a personal note thanks to all those who supplied text and photos for this report, some at short notice, 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. This report is the Top 10, results from Clubs, Feds, Combine’s etc. to follow.

Willie Reynolds - INFC Press Officer

Tel/Fax: (028) 256 44683 - Mobile: 07538 238364

Twitter: willie reynolds@homerbhw

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