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I N F C S T Allouestre 23-07-19

IRISH NATIONAL FLYING CLUB Kings Cup Grand National Saint Allouestre

The 2019 Grand National of pigeon racing in Ireland was flown from Saint Allouestre in France on the appointed day of Friday 5th July, race marking was in Lisburn as planned on the Tuesday. Some 605 members from across Ireland had entered 2578 pigeons which were competing for £29,639.00 in pools and prizemoney in the Blue Riband event. The pigeons were released in France at 6.00am, the wind at the release site was a light north easterly. The race was again sponsored by Frazers Animal Feeds in Banbridge and we are very grateful to them for their continued sponsorship of this race.

It was a hard enough race with just 42 first day arrivals, just five of those in the local Muckamore Station where the best bird was returned by the top East Antrim loft of Jimmy Burrows of Eastway timing his 4 year old Blue cock at 19.05hrs flying 486 miles into Belfast. James Walker of the Ballymoney HPS was at 21.25hrs flying 523 miles into Dervock winning the Robin Duddy Extreme Distance Trophy for the furthest flying member in the result and he had a second arrival on the second day at 16.53hrs. The overall winner was Johnny Murtagh of the high flying Ballyholland HPS in Newry City who recorded velocity 1145 for the 459 miles.

Johnny Murtagh of Ballyholland Club in Newry City, Kings Cup winner in 2019.


The Harkness Rose Bowl for the Best 2 Bird Average was won by Paddy Rock & Son from Dublin North East RPC finishing 11th and 15th Open for velocity 1044.

Winners of the Harkness Rose Bowl, Best 2 Bird Ave won by P Rock & Son Dublin NE.

Just 167 birds were recorded over the 3/4 days of the race, a lot of great pigeons timed, a number going for various awards including Gold Medal not turned up in race time and 5 birds now confirmed for a Hall of Fame Diploma. Winners of these great birds should forward me details for publication. G Benson from Lisburn & District 2016 34th, 2018 32nd, and 2019 66th. E E & S Kavanagh from Arklow United 2017 89th, 2018 37th and 2019 77th. Parkin & Cairns from Castlebellingham 2016 58th, 2017 19th and 2019 34th. P Dunlop from Edgarstown 2017 141st, 2018 69th and 2019 54th. J Doheny from Malahide & District 2016 62nd, 2017 60th and 2019 112th.

1st North Section, 1st Open J Murtagh Ballyholland, Vel 1145, Flying 459 miles, winning £1353, and King George V Challenge Cup and NIPA Trophy for 1st NIPA member in the King’s Cup.

Winner of the Irish National Kings Cup for J Murtagh & Son.

Over the last number of year the Newry area in County Down have dominated racing and local member have won their fair share topping the NIPA on several occasions and Ballyholland Club itself has a lot of 1st Open winners. Johnny’s own brother Peter Murtagh came 2nd in the Kings Cup recently and his cousin Aidan McAteer is also a 1st Open winner in the Friendship National, plus a Hall of Fame Diploma and Gold Medal winner in the Kings Cup. Now to the winner a 2 year old Black Cheq hen that was a gift from good friend James Cleland of Annsborough. As expected she was bred from the best long distance lines James has, sire always stock was a full brother to the lofts own winner of 2nd Open East Down Combine St Malo Derby in 2014 with just 3 birds on the day. Sire of this bird won 25th Open in the Penzance Classic and 19th in the Friendship Nat a direct son of his good Freedy Vandeheede stock cock and a Pros Roosen hen. The dam was 63rd Open in the Kings Cup and she was bred from his own 3rd Friendship Nat Fougeres bird only three on the day and a direct daughter of C & L Woodsides No 1 stock hen. The dam of the Kings Cup winner was bred by the late Angus Houston, a direct daughter of his 2nd Open Friendship Nat also well placed in the Kings Cup and this loft won the Friendship Nat on two occasions.

The hen was sent to the Kings Cup on a three day old young one with the cock being moved away, she just had two races from Fermoy and Bude three weeks prior to the Kings Cup when she was timed at 5.45pm. Feeding comes from Fraser Feeds, jet mix. Well done to James Cleland for breeding the 2019 Kings Cup winner and Johnny would also like to give a very special thanks to all of his Ballyholland Club members and especially Cormac O’Hare for keeping him in the sport.

2nd North Section, 2nd Open Donnelly Bros Newry City, Vel 1134, flying 462 miles, winning £1028 and the Nelson Vase 1st RPRA member after winner in King’s Cup.

Mathew and Richard Donnelly from Newry holding 2 of 3 birds timed including 2nd Open Kings Cup.

Yet another ace racing loft from Newry, the Donnelly Bros Richard and John have topped the NIPA on several occasions and also been 1st Open in the Friendship Nat, in 2019 they got very close to the Kings Cup. Their 1st Bird is a three year old hen now named “Lizzie” timed at 5.57pm. She was sitting 14 days on eggs and was raced roundabout at start of season having 4 inland races and Talbenny South Wales and then re-paired. She was originally planned to go to St Malo but layed a bit slow so she was left to the Kings Cup.  Her sire won 4th open Bude with NIPA  and is brother to our top racing hen T3. Her dam is a daughter of “Ballybay Destroyer” who won 1st open NIPA Bude for Prunty & Larkin but was bred by Tom Nelson of Dublin. Ballybay Destroyer is sire of our INFC Penzance Young Bird National winner “Georgina” who is Lizzie’s aunt. Training is done mostly by Ivan Mawhinney whom we would like to thank. Feeding is our own Sport and Diet mix with Natural Energy mix added when needed. We would thank all who phone to congratulate us.

3rd North Section, 3rd Open Russell Bros Dromara, Vel 1127, flying 471 miles, winning £897.

We stay in County Down and Dromara, another club with a long distance tradition. 3rd Open was won with a 2yr old blue hen called “Pauly” for the Dromara partnership of Russell Bros which is Nigel and George, but Nigel’s two sons Mathew and Luke also take a very keen interest. The partnership has a great record from the channel winning NIPA St Malo in 2017 with “Lucky Lady”. In fact the two hens share the same grandsire through the sire which contains all the old blood of Jim Moreland and John McMullan, two of the best. The dam was purchased at Mo McCorriston’s Clearance sale. Raced on the darkness as a young bird she flew most of the programme as a yearling, she again flew most of the programme plus the Yearling National also taking 3rd club Fermoy. This year she flew the full programme to Bude, then plenty of training with Ivan Mawhinney and Tommy Cairns. “Pauly” was sent to the Kings Cup sitting ten day eggs. Thanks to David Black for the info.

Nigel and Luke Russell of Russell Bros, Dromara. Nigel holding “Lucky Lady” 1st Open NIPA St Malo 2017 and Luke holding “Pauly”, 3rd Open St Allouestre King's Cup.

4th North Section, 4th Open Mal Maguire & Son Millvale, Vel 1118, flying 460 miles, winning £2799.

Once again I cover one of the best long distance lofts in the country at the present time, Yew Tree Lofts fly with Millvale in Newry City, what a race for Newry. Mal Maguire & Son were covered one year ago when winning 7th Open in the Kings Cup and with a second bird at lunchtime on the second day were the winners of the Harkness Rose Bowl for the Best 2 Bird Average.


Malachy Maguire (l) with son Mark, Yew Tree Lofts in Newry, finished 4th in Kings Cup.

In another tester of a race this year this second bird was race favourite this time and was timed at 6.15pm to win 4th North Sect & 4th Open INFC. Last year this 4 year old Cheq hen “Champion No Surprise” won 18th North Sect & 22nd Open INFC recording velocity 613. Breeding is pure Maguire, based on nothing but the top France and Cross Channel performers based on the following Maguire Champions. “Portavogie Lass”, “Home Alone”, “Newry Queen”, “Three Times a Lady”, “Moonlight Lass”, “No Problem”, “Lady Rose”, “Game On”, “Classic Lady”, “Young Sean”, “Glenhill Lass”, “Just Perfect”, “Caoilfhionns Choice”, “Young Osin” and the best bloodlines of N Black & Son. Prior to the major races the birds are

raced hard and trained most days weather permitting. Thanks to Steve McGarry for the info.

 “Champion No Surprise” a Merit Award winner for Mal Maguire & Son, 4th & 22nd in Kings Cup.

5th North Section, 5th Open J Gillespie & Sons Ballynahinch, Vel 1113 flying 469 miles, winning £770 and EDC Cup for 1st Member in East Down Combine in the Kings Cup, Gilliland Cup for 1st IHU member after winner and the McCloud Cup for first Yearling in the King’s Cup.

Jim Gillespie of Ballynahinch, 1st ECC St Malo and one week later 5th Open INFC Kings Cup.

The Ballynahinch partnership of Jim Gillespie and Sons have just enjoyed two tremendous results from two very difficult French races, firstly winning the East Down Combine St. Malo Derby flown on June 28th and then a week later by timing 2 hens on the day from the St. Allouestre King’s Cup, the first of which was timed at 18.21pm and this was followed by the 2nd hen at 21.05pm.The Gillespie's  first bird finishing at 5th Open is a Black Pied yearling hen racing roundabout. Jim’s Brother David who races with the Ballylesson club is the breeder of many of Jim’s Birds and this Black Pied hen is one he obtained from David and is a Red Rum Busschaert. Although only a yearling she had already flown Penzance with the EDC two weeks previously and by way of preparation Jim had his Kings cup hens fly with the Young Birds each evening. As a Young bird this Black Pied hen, being a natural young bird, had just 4 races. Jim feeds nothing but “All Round” mixture to his birds and this has stood them in good stead. Finally Jim is very grateful to his brother David for the birds he has obtained from him. Thanks to Clifford Browne for the info.

6th North Section, 6th Open W B Shaw Corrigs, Vel 1103, flying 458 miles, winning £633.

Next we have another dedicated distance loft with a great record in the Kings Cup, 2nd to Connor Bros in 1978 from Rennes and winning Harkness Rose Bowl in same year, Billy Shaw of the Corrigs Club in Newcastle Co Down. The following year he won a Hall of Fame. In the very difficult King’s Cup in 2005 from Messac Billy had 4 birds in the result when only 110 were recorded in race time.

Long distance Ace Racer, Billy Shaw from Corrigs in Newcastle, 6th Open in the Kings Cup.

Over the years he has been placed several times and the Kings Cup is getting a bit closer with birds in the Top 10 in 2 of the last three seasons. The bird timed in 2019 was a Dark Pied (c) 2 year old sent 12 days on eggs, his full sister a year older was timed on the second day to finish 62nd Open. The birds were bred from stock obtained from Louella Pigeon World in 2014, the best of Jan Aarden bloodlines of the famous True Grit and Invincible Spirit which had success through to Barcelona. Training is with Ronnie Williamson to Balbriggan (45 miles) at least twice a week.

7th North Section, 7th Open J Burrows Eastway, Vel 1089, flying 486 miles, winning £1199.

Jimmy Burrows who races in the Eastway HPS in Belfast is one of the most consistent lofts in East Antrim and will score over the complete race programme, from the very first race through to France This year in the Kings Cup he topped the Muckamore Station timing at 7.05pm with just 5 birds recorded on the day. His 4 year old Blue cock was mated to a new hen, had most of the inland races and Talbenny. This cock has already won 3 x 1sts and had other positions. He keeps around 14 old bird racers, no stock birds The present family of birds are bred from racing stock obtained from Harmony Lofts in Ballynahinch, their top Vandenabelle  He gets very good help from wife Hazel and as well as thanking her also wished to thank Harmony Lofts for the Vandenabelle birds. My thanks to Rodney Irvine for his help with the details and photo.

Ace Racer Jimmy Burrows from Eastway HPS in Belfast, 1st Muckamore Centre and 7th Open Kings Cup.

8th North Section, 8th Open S & N Lester Laurelvale, Vel 1086, flying 475 miles, winning £466 and the Joe Doheny Cup for the Single Bird Challenge.

The last 2 seasons have been special for the father and son partnership of Stephen and Norman Lester from Laurelvale in Portadown, in the NIPA Premier OB National from St Malo in France they won the Best 2 Bird Ave last year with 13th & 22nd Open and this season well placed again to hold on to the trophy with 14th & 20th Open. In the Kings Cup at 475 miles their 3 year old bird finished 8th Open in the INFC and was race favourite to collect the Joe Doheny Cup for the Single Bird Challenge. I have included a photo of the partners holding their two birds in the Kings Cup Stephen & Alastair Lester holding the Red Pair 8 open Kings Cup  and 86 open Kings Cup. Thanks to Steve McGarry for his help with this.

Stephen & Alastair Lester from Laurelvale holding the Red Pair 8th & 86th Open in the Kings Cup.

9th North Section, 9th Open James Garrett South Belfast, Vel 1083, flying 480 miles, winning £214.

No details available when going to press.

1st South Section, 10th G O’Reilly Malahide & District, Vel 1067, flying 413 miles, winning £247, and J Cullen Memorial Cup for 1st ECF member in the King’s Cup.

Yet another loft with a fantastic Kings Cup record, overall winners in 2012 with Riverview Red collecting the award from Vannes, and many other positions since. Here is some information on the 3 birds clocked over the weekend from the Kings CUP 2019. 3 Year old Cheq hen 1st Sect & 10th Open INFC. Her breeding is Frank Cheetham the best (James  Anderson) crossed with S Buwalda (Holland). She was privately trained with two inland races before going to the King Cup and sitting on fourteen day old eggs. She is a late bred of her year and was 5th Club Penzance in 2018. A 3 Year old Cheq hen was the second arrival. Her breeding is F Cheetham (James Anderson). She was also privately trained with two inland races before going to the King Cup and sitting on sixteen day old eggs. She is a late bred of her year and flew the channel in 2018. Her Grand Sire is Riverview Red, the winner of the King Cup in 2012. A 5 Year old Black Ch cock was the third bird. His breeding is F Cheetham (James Anderson). He was privately trained with two inland races before going to the King Cup and sitting on sixteen day old eggs. He is mated to the hen that was clocked second from this year’s race. His Grand Sire is Riverview Red and his Grand dam is Riverview Triumph, three times in the results from the INFC Friendship Nat 2011, 2012 and 2013. His mother is the sister of Riverview Gold, winner of the Miller Gold cup in 2015. He has previously flown the following races 1st club, 3rd Fed and 21st Nat Quimper 2016, 12th Club St Allouestre 2017, 3rd Club 5th Fed and 36th Nat St Allouestre 2018.

Harkness Rose Bowl Best 2 Bird Average won by Paddy Rock & Son

10th Irish National hen on her eggs a short time after she got home for Gerry O’Reilly of Malahide.

Freddy Vandenheede, Belgian National Champion presenting Merit Award to G O’Reilly & Son.

The first bird we timed in 11th open is a red yearling cock called “Darragh’s Red”.  He was raced on double widowhood for the early part of the season. His hen was sent to our first Talbenny but failed to home. After this he refused to pair, after each land race he was given a hen but didn’t take to them. He was sent to Penzance unpaired with in ISRF on the 22nd of June and got just over a 5 hour fly being our 4th bird home.

After Penzance he was put in a section with 5 spare hens until he eventually paired. He was then moved back into his box. He stayed very calm while driving this hen and kept eating well so we decided to send him to the Kings Cup. His breeding is 1/2 N Grant & Son, Balbriggan on the sires side. His sire is from a red cock of Mickey Grant’s that flew France 3 times winning France once, he won twice up the land doing 1000ypm & 2200ypm and also won Best in Show in the show pen. His Dam has our Hall of Fame winners blood and “Jem” who was 2nd INFC Kings Cup 2005.

The second bird we timed in 15th open is cheq w/f hen called “Darragh’s Girl”. She was raced on widowhood in the early part of the year. In her first race of the year from Mallow it was very windy she overshot and ended up being reported by Sam Graham in Antrim. With the help of Sam & John Miller we got her back going on the land sent her to Penzance with the ISRF on the 15th of June when she was our 4th bird home earning her 5th Club and getting a 6 3/4 hour fly. She was allowed go down on eggs and was sent to the Kings Cup on about 12 day eggs. Her sire is off our Kings Cup winner “Champion Jack” when he was paired to his daughter. Her dam is an A & N Lewis hen that we bought at the INFC Show a few years ago.

We would first like to Congratulate Johnny Murtagh & Son on winning the Kings Cup. We would also like to thank Mickey Grant and A & N Lewis for their part in the breeding of the 2 birds and Sam Graham for reporting our second bird. Many thanks Martin.

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

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