IRISH NATIONAL FLYING CLUB
SKIBBEREEN OLD BIRD NATIONAL - MAY 2013
The Irish National Flying Club had their first race of the 2013 season when the birds were liberated in Skibbereen on Tuesday 28 May. With rain forecast to spread from the west as the day went on, the birds were released at 7.40am in a westerly wind. The overall winner was Ger Furlong from Wexford North and South, with the six highest velocities in the race going to Wexford but it was the North section that provided a nail biting finish with the first five birds all on the same yard with P & J Boal just edging out J Gregory & Son and Doonan & McGuinness. The middle section winner was Tom Nelson from Malahide & District.
The race was sponsored by Bamfords Top Flight and we are very grateful to them for their continued sponsorship. The race took the same format as last year with the Ronnie Johnston Challenge Cup and diploma awarded to the Overall winner and the Gerald Delaney Trophy awarded to the best velocity of the other two sections. The winner of the section with the lowest winning velocity will receive a coveted INFC diploma. There are no Open positions for the Skibbereen Nationals but prizes are allocated to the three sections.
South Section - 33 members sent 276 pigeons
1st Open and 1st South section G Furlong Wexford North & South, Vel 1597, flying 131 miles, winning The Ronnie Johnston Challenge Cup, and £80
Ger Furlong of Wexford, 1st and 4th South section Skibbereen OB National
The Ronnie Johnston Challenge Cup winner was Ger Furlong from Wexford. Ger entered 12 birds in the race and had two birds with the fastest and fourth fastest velocities on the day. Ger has been having a great season so far - highlights being 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 7th and 9th Open South Leinster Fed Rosscarbery on the 4th May and the following week the 11th May he won 1st Open South Leinster Fed Old Bird Derby from Skibbereen. It’s quite an impressive feat to win both a Derby and a National in just over two weeks, so this was obviously a loft on form. Ger’s arrivals are from his own strain of pigeons that he and his late uncle Jimmy cultivated themselves over the years with great success.
The National winner here is a two-year-old cheq cock ‘Roserock Jem’. This bird was previously 3rd Open in the Irish Homing Union National in their Old Bird National from Barleycove in 2012. The Sire of ‘Roserock Jem’ is a full brother to Ger’s 2009 Champion Old Bird Winner in the Wexford North and South Road Invitation Pigeon Club. Some of ‘Roserock Jem’s recent performances include, 1st Dungarvan 2012, 3rd Open IHU NFC Barleycove Old Bird National 2012, 5th Rosscarbery 2012, 6th Dungarvan 2012, 5th Pilmore Beach 2012, 5th Skibbereen 2012 beaten by four loft mates.
2nd South section, Thomas Hore Wexford North & South, Vel 1581, flying 131 miles, winning £84
Thomas Hore of Wexford holding 2nd and 3rd South section Skibbereen
The 2011 INFC Old Bird National winner almost did it again finishing 2nd and 3rd clocking two birds in one second to have the 2nd and 3rd fastest velocities on the day from the entire convoy of 4205 birds. The two birds that Thomas timed in this race also arrived together from the Old Bird National in 2011 and finished 8th and 9th Open on that occasion. Thomas Hore has been no stranger to success at National level for the last couple of seasons as can be seen from some of his following performances, 5th Open INFC Skibbereen Old Bird National 2010, 7th Open IHU NFC Waterville Old Bird National 2010, 1st, 8th, 9th, 10th, 13th and 14th Open INFC Skibbereen Old Bird National 2011, 1st Open IHU NFC Barleycove Old Bird National 2012.
The pigeon taking 2nd South section here is a four-year-old Red hen called ‘Ruby’. ‘Ruby’ was 8th Open in the INFC Old Bird National in 2011. She along with four loft mates arrived just after Thomas’ winner. She also finished 41st Open IHU NFC Barleycove Old Bird National 2012. Some of her other best performances include 2nd from Pilmore Beach 2011 and 3rd from Skibbereen in 2012. Her sire is a De Klak bred by B & R Long & Cox from one of their top sprint cocks ‘Quasimodo’, while her dam is a Marcelis also bred by B & R Long & Cox from another of their top cocks ‘Sinderby’ who is a brother to ‘Orange’ who was twenty one times in the first ten positions including 7x1sts.
3rd South section, Thomas Hore Wexford North & South, vel 1580, flying 131 miles, winning £64.85
We stay with Thomas Hore for 3rd South section, with another four-year-old, this time a Blue Tip cock ‘Kelly’s Dream’. ‘Kelly’s Dream’ has been no stranger to success at National level as he finished 9th Open in the INFC Old Bird National in 2011. In the IHU NFC Barleycove Old Bird National 2011 he was 22nd Open and won 1st Club by over 100ypm. In the IHU NFC Barleycove Old Bird National 2012 he finished 84th Open. He was a very consistent pigeon as a young bird but wasn’t raced as a yearling or even let out of the loft for a fly as he was given a complete year’s rest.
The sire of ‘Kelly’s Dream’ was 7th Open IHU NFC Waterville in 2010 for Thomas. His sire was bred by the late Paddy Donnelly from Dublin and his dam was bred by Ronnie Mc Kelvey from Newry, while the dam of ‘Kelly’s Dream’ is a full sister to ‘Rocky’ who was Champion Old bird of the year in the South Leinster Federation 2008 for Willie & Mary Hore. ‘Rocky’s best performances include, Champion Old Bird of the Year South Leinster Fed 2008, Champion Old Bird of the Year Wexford North & South Road Inv PC 2008, 1st Open South Leinster Fed Barleycove 2008, 1st Open South Leinster Fed Rosscarbery 2008, 2nd Open South Leinster Fed Barleycove 2008, 2nd Open South Leinster Fed Rosscarbery 2010, 14th Open South Leinster Fed Castletownbere Old Bird Derby 2010, 16th Open South Leinster Fed Barleycove 2010, 18th Open South Leinster Fed Kinsale 2010, 19th Open South Leinster Fed Skibbereen 2010, 1st Sect A South Leinster Fed Barleycove 2008, 1st Sect A South Leinster Rosscarbery 2008, 2nd Sect A South Leinster Fed Barleycove 2008, 2nd Sect A South Leinster Fed Rosscarbery 2010, 1st Club Barleycove 2008, 1st Club Rosscarbery 2008, 2nd Club Barleycove 2008, 2nd Club Rosscarbery 2010 5th Club Rosscarbery 2009, 7th Club Pilmore Beach 2011, 9th Club Kinsale 2009, 9th Club Kinsale 2010, 9th Club Barleycove 2010, 11th Club Rosscarbery 2009, 12th Club Castletownbere Old Bird Derby 2010.
4th South section, G Furlong Wexford North & South, Vel 1579, flying 131 miles, winning £67.90
We go back to the National winner Ger Furlong for the 4th South section pigeon. This one is another two-year-old cock, a Blue White Flight ‘Roserock Tom’. ‘Roserock Tom’ is carrying the same bloodlines as ‘Roserock Jem’, the winner here. Again it’s from Ger’s own strain that he and his late uncle Jimmy cultivated themselves over the years with great success.
Ger has had a string of top performances at National level in recent years including 2nd & 6th Open INFC Skibbereen Old Bird National 2007, 1st South Section, 5th Open INFC Skibbereen Old Bird National 2009, 12th Open IHU NFC Waterville Old Bird National 2010, 4th, 6th & 8th Open INFC Skibbereen Old Bird National 2010, 3rd Open IHU NFC Barleycove O/B National 2012.
5th South section, B Cullimore Wexford North & South, vel 1577, flying 130 miles, winning £77.80
Billy Cullimore is 5th south section and is another name that appears regularly in the National results including 1st INFC Skibbereen Young Bird national in 2011. The pigeon timed here is a yearling hen and was a gift bird from Gerry O’Mara, Dublin. This bird has won 2 x 1st clubs and was 1st Fed with 1600 birds competing. On the Saturday before the National she was 2nd club, 5th Fed Skibbereen with 1500 birds competing and then on the Saturday after the National she was 10th club. She has also had a 6th club from Barleycove so she has been in some form all year. Last year she was runner up for Young Bird of the Year in the Wexford North and South club. The nest mate of this bird was 1st club for Gerry O’Mara from Mallow on the Saturday after the National.
The breeding is Van Loon x Busschaert and she was racing as a widowhood hen. Her sire is ‘Ronnie’, a winner of 2 x 1st Feds. Billy doesn’t train after the first race but the birds are flown for an hour morning and evening. Feeding is from Sandyhill and is an elite mixture up to Wednesday and then a high fatty mixture for Thursday and Friday.
North section 341 members sent 3,307 birds
1st North section P & J Boal Dromore, vel 1569.48, flying 236 miles, winning the Gerald Delaney Trophy and £964.55
The winners of the North section in probably the tightest finish ever in a National result are Philip and Joe Boal from Dromore who also were winners of the North section in 2010. The north section winner is a blue yearling Willy Van Herck hen flying a “type” of widowhood. This hen had only four races as a young bird however prior to the National this year she was 1st club, 1st section, 26th Open NIPA Roscrea, 14,733 birds competing, 11th section, 36th Open NIPA Rosscarbery, and 40th section, 154th Open NIPA from Fermoy. She is a sister to ‘Nishi’ 1st Club, 1st section, 2nd Open NIPA Rosscarbery Yearling Hens in 2011. Her dam was 1st section, 12th Open Fermoy, and also has 1st club, 1st section, 5th Open, and a 9th Open.
Philip and Joe never train after the first race and are flown only once a day around the lofts due to Philip’s work commitments. A typical day sees Philip at the loft at 5am and on the evening I spoke to him he had just come in after 10pm. Feeding is 100% Van Robaeys all year round.
Philip said they were very pleased with all the kind calls and texts they received after winning the north section in what was a very tight finish and he was very humbled by the call he received from John and Eamon Gregory congratulating him on his win, as they were beaten by a second decimal and as Philip said it takes a special type of pigeon man to make that call.
2nd North section J Gregory & Sons Colin HPS, vel 1569.45, flying 248 miles, winning £530.40
John Gregory and his sons Eamon, John and Steven are second North section, beaten on the second decimal point. The pigeon timed here is a yearling cock timed at 12.19. The sire is a Vandenabeele from direct M & D Evans stock, while the dam is a Leo Van Rijn x Janssen Van Den Bosche. The Van Den Bosche bloodlines were obtained at John Geary’s clearance sale. The sire itself was a mean racer with 6 x 1sts in the club and he was 7th Open in the NIPA Rosscarbery National in 2005.
The yearling cock at second INFC National here had a 2nd club as a young bird from Roscrea, but really came to attention this year with some wonderful results at club level including, 2nd, 6th, 2nd and 2nd in the first four races this year. He has been racing on the widowhood system and has obviously adapted well to it.
The birds are trained twice a week with Andy Milligan and also with Joe Flood, alternating the cocks and hens between them to avoid them arriving home from training together. A normal Natural widowhood mix is used from Tom Marshall.
John and Eamon Gregory
3rd North section, P & J Boal Dromore, vel 1569.38, flying 236 miles, winning £684.61
We go back to the North section winners of P & J Boal for the third North section bird and bear in mind that we are still on the same yard here with this one just .1 of a yard behind the north section winner. This one is a blue yearling hen from the Van Huevel lines. Again it is flying what Philip refers to as a ‘type’ of widowhood. This hen was a gift bird from Mick and Rodney from Manchester, known as the “Cotton Wool Boys”. This hen previously won 3rd section, 9th Open from Roscrea this year, on the same day as The NIPA National from Rosscarbery.
The Boals two pigeons landed together so this one could just as easily won the North section, but on the other hand if the winner had waited for this one to go in it could have missed out on the North section win.
Philip and Joe had six birds in the result at 1st, 3rd, 42nd, 80th, 134th and 272nd North section with total winnings of £1868.87 for a very successful day.
4th North section Doonan & McGuinness Dromore, vel 1569.23, flying 236 miles, winning £496.32
We stay in Dromore for the next two pigeons in the North section result to the lofts of Doonan & McGuinness. Again this loft is no stranger to success at National level, and yes their two birds were on the same yard as the first three in the North section. Their first pigeon is a yearling cock, and breeding is Heremans-Ceusters x Marijke Vink. Her full sister was 3rd Open Rosscarbery NIPA National with 4643 birds competing. The sire is ‘King Kong’ son of ‘Rossi’ of Heremans- Ceusters, while the dam is ‘Drum’s Little Charm’, a daughter of ‘Drum’ and ‘Seven 11’.
The Cock Crow lofts had another four birds in the North section result taking 26th, 67th, 105th and 137th to give them a super days racing. The birds are flown on widowhood and flown for 45 minutes around the loft morning and evening. The birds are fed on Gem pigeon corn from Robert Kirkwood. Wayne would like to say a big thank you to Robert and June Kirkwood and the ‘Big Lad’ for all their help.
5th North section Doonan & McGuinness Dromore, vel 1569.13, flying 236 miles, winning £376.45
What a day this was for the Cock Crow lofts of Doonan & McGuinness, coming so close to winning the North section of the INFC Skibbereen National, and while there is bound to be a hint of disappointment at coming so close they can be extremely proud to finish with two birds in the top five, and as I said above for both those birds to be on the same yard as the winning pigeon. Their second pigeon is another yearling cock, and again is Heremans-Ceusters x Marijke Vink. This bird was previously 1st club, 1st section 1600 birds, 5thOpen NIPA 12,000 birds.
The sire is ‘Back to the Future’, the father of 2nd Open NIPA from Fermoy, and a son of ‘Dutch Master’ and ‘Agent Starling’. The dam is ‘Miss World’, a breeder of 4 x 1st sections and 1st Open Tullamore with 8822 birds competing. The bloodlines are from ‘Den426’ and ‘Wonderaske’ from Heremans-Ceusters.
Middle Section 95 members sent 622 birds
1st Middle section, T Nelson Malahide & District, vel 1536, flying 179 miles, winning £264.30 and a framed diploma
The winner of the Middle section is Malahide’s Tommy Nelson with a yearling hen racing on the roundabout system. The sire is Piet Van De Meyer from Alfie Hawthorne in Durham, while the dam is from Ant and Tom Platters and contains Rous Sablon bloodlines. On the Saturday prior to the National this hen was 2nd East Coast Fed from Owenahincha, in a race where Tommy took the first nine positions in the East Coast Fed, timing 9 birds in 28 seconds. As a young bird this bird was 12th Fed from Owenahincha in a difficult race where the velocities were below 900 ypm.
Tommy is a great believer in training the birds and they go every day for a 30 mile toss weather permitting. For feeding Tommy uses a mixture of two widowhood mixes, Versele Laga from Cyril Beattie and a Natural mix from Richard Donnelly. In the mornings the birds are given a diet mix and homoform.
Tommy would like to thank Alfie Hawthorne for breeding the sire of the section winner.
2nd Middle section Keith Nolan Individual South, vel 1528, flying 180 miles, winning £80
2nd Middle section goes to Keith Nolan from Skyrne in Co Meath. Keith originally raced pigeons in the Cabra club in Dublin as a 17 year old but like many another young fella other birds took over and he only lasted 6 months in pigeons at that stage. However, the bug was there and he returned to pigeons in 2010 when he joined the Trim club. He contacted John O’Callaghan, Cabra in 2010 and asked if he would rear him a few youngsters to get him started and John very kindly gifted him 24 youngsters that year, with lots more since. Keith is very appreciative of all the help he has received from John. He also said that his grand uncle, the late Kevin Darling was a great influence and help since he got going again, as has Philip Boal, the winner of the North section in this race.
The pigeon timed is a three-year-old Van Reet cock from the original pigeons he obtained from John O’Callaghan. Last year this bird had 7 x club positions including 3rd club Barleycove. This year he has seldom been out of the prizes, taking 3rd club, 5th section Pilmore Beach, 4th club, 5th section Skibbereen, 9th club Barleycove, then 2nd Middle section here, and the Saturday following the INFC National he was 2nd club Mallow, beaten only by a loft mate.
This is just Keith’s first year racing in the Irish National Flying Club so this has been a terrific start. Keith races widowhood and started the season with 11 widowhood cocks. They were trained up to the first race and then flown around the loft until Thursdays when they are given a short toss to fly back to the hens. Feeding is a basic widowhood mix from Van Robaeys and Gerry Plus. Keith is a quick learner and last year he won the Combined Averages in the club.
3rd Middle section, N & N Smith Greenhills, vel 1528, flying 175 miles, winning £165.95
Third Middle section goes to the father and son partnership of Noel and Noel Smith from the Greenhills club. They had only 2 birds in the race which makes this a very creditable performance. The pigeon timed is a yearling cock sent driving his hen. As a young bird he had four positions in the Greenhills club, including 3rd club Skibbereen. This cock actually went missing for 3 weeks after a hard race early in the young bird programme, but he came back and was rested for a couple of weeks and then put back on the road to win 4 cards. The breeding of this one is Lee Puttin from Noel’s good friend Sean McGovern, also of the Greenhills club. Noel is another fancier who likes to train regularly and the birds are trained every day, Monday to Thursday during the racing season.
Feeding is from Frazers and Noel says that Neil looks after him very well. Noel would like to thank Eugene Fitzgerald and Val Flood for bringing his pigeons to the marking station.
4th Middle section B Cully Individual South, vel 1507, flying 158 miles, winning £107.93
4th Middle section goes to Brian Cully of Newbridge who had a great race with three birds in the result at 4th, 5th and 15th Middle section from an entry of five birds. The pigeon at 4th Middle section is a two-year-old cock racing widowhood. He was just shown the bowl before basketing for this race, as Brian came home at lunch time to basket the birds and only had about 20 minutes. The sire is a Klaf from Mickey McDonald while the dam is Karel Boeckx from Derek Parr, Portadown. This two year old cock has had 9 races and was in the top 10% in 7 of the 9 races. As the club has a 15 mile radius it is a very difficult club to win.
The birds aren’t trained after the first race but are flown morning and evening. Feeding is Merrimans Super Winner and Super Power. Brian’s loft is 30’ x 8’ and has 5 sections.
5th Middle section B Cully Individual South, vel 1507, flying 158 miles, winning £118.74
We stay with Brian Cully for 5th Middle section. Brian’s two birds follow a common theme from this race as they are on the same yard as well. Brian’s second pigeon is a yearling cock again on widowhood and in the same section as his first bird. The yearling cock is Karel Boeckx x Cooremans from Derek Parr. This bird was 3rd club as a young bird from Barleycove and her sister topped the South Central Fed from Barleycove in 2010.
Brian would like to thank JJ Hurley for the tips before the race and Tristan for taking the pigeons to the marking station and for looking after the clock on race day as Brian was working.
Thanks to all who helped in the preparation of this report and all who helped with photographs.
INFC Press Officer