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Yearling National Sennen Cove



Brendan McLoughlin


The Irish National Flying Club held their annual Yearling National race on Wednesday 13th June 2012 from Sennen Cove in Cornwall. Despite a pair of disappointing Talbennys on the two weekends prior to the National, the entry was still an impressive 4,319 birds which were racing for a total pools and prize fund of £36,016.94.

The pigeons were liberated at 8.20am in a light north-westerly wind and the early birds made very good progress with the winner timed in Rathnew at 12.44pm. The leading batch was relatively small with the first 4 birds well clear of the rest and birds timing after 7pm in the north still making the prize list. With good returns in the latter part of the day and throughout the second day it turned out to be an excellent race. This was in spite of some very heavy showers in and around the Dublin area throughout the afternoon.

This race was designated the Diamond Jubilee race and Gold, Silver and Bronze medals were awarded to the first three pigeons. Once again the Yearling National was sponsored by Samuel McCausland Ltd, and we are very grateful to them for their sponsorship.


1st South section, 1st Open P & J Snell Rathnew, vel 1254, flying 220 miles, winning £684, The Nelson Corry Trophy and a Gold Medal


The winners of the 2012 Yearling National are the father and son partnership of P & J Snell from the Rathnew club. Patrick and John also win the Nelson Corry Cup and the gold medal for the first bird in the Diamond Jubilee race. The winning pigeon known as ‘Lily’s Hero’ is a chequer pied hen. The sire is from Joe Donnelly, Blackwater in Wexford and was 6th Open St Malo in the East Coast Fed last year. The dam is a Delbar x Huybrecht cross with the Delbar coming from Jack Roberts, Cheshire, while the Huybrecht was bought at the Dublin Show.

‘Lily’s Hero’ was paired in February and reared two youngsters which were gifted to a new starter in the sport. The hen was sent sitting 10 days on eggs on the floor behind an old door, and on her return home, her cock had left her for another hen but she continued to sit and was still sitting when I spoke to Paddy a week later. While she has always been a consistent racer this was her first time to make the result sheet. As a young bird she was darkened and had all the inland races and this year she had all the inland races except Skibbereen. Training is to Wexford (about 50 miles), three times a week with Derek Kennedy of Newtownkilpeddar.

Paddy and John are no strangers to National results having been in the result from the King’s Cup for the past three years and were 21st Open King’s Cup in the 2003 smash. They have also previously been 10th Open in the Yearling National. Indeed they had two other pigeons in the result in this years race at 33rd and 53rd South section, 72nd and 140th Open from their entry of 10 birds.

All birds are treated with rondizole 10% for 7 days at the start of season and all birds are fed Natural corn. Herbots products are used from Direct Pigeon Supplies in Arklow with skinless kibbled peanuts fed every day as 10% of the feed. Naturline cider vinegar and garlic are given twice a week also.

 Paddy would like to thank all the people and members of club who wished him well and he hopes to time from France 2012 to end the old bird season. Paddy’s motto is ‘WORK THEM HARD & TREAT THEM LIKE HEROES’.

Paddy Snell of P&J Snell holding Lily’s Choice, winner of the INFC Yearling National.


2nd South section, 2nd Open S Leonard & Son Arklow, vel 1253, flying 188 miles, winning £545 and a Silver Medal


The Arklow lofts of Sheldon Leonard and his son Brandon are 2nd South section, 2nd Open this year with a hen racing on the widowhood system. Sheldon races both hens and cocks on the widowhood and finds that this is a very effective way to race them both.

This hen now known as ‘Blue Sisqo’ was raced on widowhood and prepared on the A to Z system which Sheldon and Roger Lowe learned about on their trips to Belgium. ‘Blue Sisqo’ is part of a team of 24 widowhood hens and flew all the inland races in 2012, including Barleycove (178 miles) on the Saturday before basketing. She reared a young bird in March and then went on widowhood where she was darkened up until two weeks before the National. The night before basketing she was given a new cock and locked in her box overnight and she really took to her new partner.

Her sire is Janssen Arendonk from the lines of ‘019’, ‘Merckx’ and ‘Klamper’ with her dam from F & J Vandenheede from the line of ‘Top Kweeker Freddy’, ‘Den Dromer’, ‘Albert’ and ‘Paola’, the best of De Rauw Sablon bloodlines. A half brother to ‘Blue Sisqo’ has bred 20 individual 1st prizewinners for Mike Staddon UK.

All birds are fed on Natural Finesse corn and Dr Brockamp products are used on all race birds. They are also treated for canker and respiratory on a regular basis.

Sheldon would like to thank all those who phoned or called round and to congratulate everybody in the result with a special mention for Eddie Barnes who had two in the top ten in the South section.

Brandon Leonard holding Blue Sisqo, 2nd Open INFC Yearling National, with Sheldon Leonard, Lee Newman and Danny Breen.


3rd South section, 3rd Open, Joey McLoughlin Blanchardstown, vel 1249, flying 231 miles, winning £972 a Bronze Medal.


3rd Open goes to Blanchardstown’s Joey McLoughlin, winner of the Harker’s Trophy for best Average Yearling National and Young Bird National in 2011, when he followed up his 5th Open in this race with 8th Open in the Young Bird Channel National. This is another magnificent result for Joey who was also 2nd Middle section in the Skibbereen Old Bird National this year. This really is a loft in form as Joey was 3rd Open South Road Fed on the same day as the Yearling National, and he was 1st and 2nd club Mallow on the Sunday after, with the winner being the grizzle that was 2nd section in the Skibbereen National. In the Yearling National itself his second pigeon was 34th South section, 80th Open.

The pigeon timed at 3rd Open is a cock that was sent sitting 10-12 days. Interestingly Joey timed all the birds he sent sitting on eggs but didn’t get any of those that were sitting on young birds.

The sire is Verheyen while the dam is Van De Merwe both down from birds obtained from Colin Gibson, Dromara. This is the first time that Joey has ever used this cross so I’m sure he will be doing so again.

Joey McLoughlin


4th South section, 4th Open John Higgins Sallynoggin, vel 1247, flying 222 miles, winning £619


John Higgins of the Sallynoggin club in Dublin is 4th south section, 4th Open with a blue cheq cock timed at 1.33pm. This cock had raced on the roundabout this year but was paired when the birds got to the channel and he was sent to this race sitting seven days on eggs. The bird was a darkened youngster and had most of the inland races last year. This year was much the same and this was his first time across the Irish Sea.

The sire is from P Wilson, South Harrow and is a Brian Long pigeon, while the dam is a Soontjens x Busschaert cross. The Soontjens lines were introduced from Frank Sheader in 2007 while the Busschaerts were bought in from Louella.

For training John believes in a mixture of tosses from down the coast and inland. For inland his favoured location is Moom in Co Kildare. Feeding is Versele Laga superstar with a few peanuts as they go on the channel. John also likes to give the birds Homoform and Golden Boost.

John Higgins

1st North section, 5th Open B.C.T Foulis & Gill Dundonald, vel 1184, flying 312 miles, winning £300 and the James McGrugan Memorial Cup


The winners of the North section with the only pigeon from the north section in the top ten is the Dundonald partnership of B.C.T Foulis & Gill. The partnership is made up of Brian Foulis, his son Christopher, his uncle Tommy and good friend Ian Gill. The pigeon timed here now known as ‘Bright Eyes’ was bred by A & R Millken, Lagan Valley for the Premier One Loft race last year, and was 5th in the Final race from Skibbereen. When the pigeon was put up for sale following the One loft race, it failed to sell and Brian offered it back to Andy who declined, as he doesn’t “like bright-eyed pigeons”.

The pigeon is a Soontjens and this was her fourth race this year, and first ever channel race. He was sent to the race on the Monday having had training tosses from Skerries on both the Saturday and Sunday morning.

As the loft used for the One Loft race takes up most of their space the old bird racing loft is quite small and doesn’t have any permanent nest boxes. Instead a mixture of hanging baskets and Budweisser and Miller boxes are used. This cock had occupied a Budweisser box and was sitting ten days on four eggs. Looking down the result I notice the Millikens who bred this bird are 19th North section, 37th Open.


5th South section, 6th Open E Barnes & Son Ballybrack, vel 1124, flying 220 miles, winning £1017 and the Sam Buckley Memorial Trophy for best two bird average


We go back to Dublin for the 6th Open pigeon, which is raced by E Barnes & Son of the Ballybrack club. Known affectionately to his clubmates as ‘Ed the Fed’, Eddie Senior is joined by his son Eddie Junior in the partnership. With another bird taking 11th Open the Barnes are the winners of the Sam Buckley Memorial Trophy for the best two bird averages just edging out P & J Snell.

The Barnes first and third pigeon timed in the race are both Busschaerts direct from Woodruff Bros, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne down from their ‘Popeye’ lines.

The Barnes are bang on form at the moment and have pigeons in the top six in their club result from both Talbenny and Bude. They have timed successfully in both the Yearling National and Young Bird Nationals over a number of years.

The blue cock was raced on the roundabout system throughout the season but was left with his hen on his return from Sennen Cove. He had only two races this year prior to the National. The roundabout cocks aren’t trained after racing starts with only hens trained. They started the season with 16 pairs on the roundabout and with 24 birds racing celibate.

Feeding is from Sheldon Leonard and again the Brockamp system is used.

Eddie Barnes & Son


6th South section, 7th Open Graham Bros Balbriggan, vel 1117, flying 245 miles, winning £1,918


7th Open are Graham Bros, Balbriggan with their single bird entry. The partnership consists of brothers Cyril and Martin Graham and they race a small team by today’s standards starting off with 20 Old Birds.

The bird timed here is a blue cock that was in Talbenny as a young bird and in 1st Talbenny this year when he was seven and a half hours on the wing. He was raced on the natural system and was sent to the race sitting on chipping eggs.

The dam of this bird has a superb racing record, having been 2nd club, 5th Open Bude and 2nd club, 3rd Open Penzance and has won over £2,000.  The breeding is Kenyon through good friends Jim Butler and Mick Conlon, Banbridge. The sire is a mealy cock, also from Jim Butler that was unfortunately lost in Talbenny this year.

Cyril and Martin train their birds three times a week with Barney Fitzsimmons from either Bray (30 miles) or Arklow (56 miles). Feeding is Beatties’s Champion Supreme through PJ Corcoran.

Graham Bros. Cyril holding their winner, and Martin.


7th South section, 8th Open Safet Duran Blanchardstown, vel 1108, flying 229 miles, winning £1214


This was another magnificent race for Safet Duran of the Blanchardstown club who had 4 birds in the result at 8th, 24th, 132nd and 139th Open. On the same day Safet also timed 9 pigeons from Penzance. The first pigeon clocked in the National was a latebred hen bred in July and now named ‘Cleopatra’. As a young bird she was neither raced nor trained. Safet started the season racing roundabout and she was trained well before the racing season and had a few inland races and one Talbenny. After the Talbenny race the pigeons selected for the Yearling National were paired and ‘Cleopatra’ was sent to the Sennen Cove sitting 7 days on eggs.

Her dam was 14th section, 92nd Open Young Bird National Penzance with 2,437 pigeons competing and then 19th section, 39th Open Yearling National with 4,882 pigeons competing, winning over £1,000 in very difficult races with head winds. Safet says this breed seem to thrive in head winds. The dam is from Robert Van Eycken’s National winner ‘Stive and Cleopatra’ De Raow Sablon down from ‘Albert’ and ‘Paola’ (as featured in Sheldon Leonard report) when paired to a Jan De Vis Aarden hen, down from his best racers, winning many top National positions. The sire is from D & R Topping and is Soontjen/Vandenabeele. He himself was a good racer for Safet and has bred many prizewinners. 

The pigeons are fed ‘Champion Supreme’ from Tommy Nelson during the week and are given Versele Laga Gerry Plus for two days before basketing. With the bad weather this year Safet also gave them Versele Laga Energy Plus. The pigeons get fresh grit everyday with some red band and homoform. Three weeks before the channel races, crushed peanuts are added to the food. They are fed in the morning and at night having as much as they want and the food is taken away after half an hour. In these three weeks, pigeons are not raced but trained daily from 30 miles with a few 50 to 60 mile tosses from Arklow flying along the coast.

Safet would like to thank Liam Donnelly for taking his pigeons to Lisburn and his clock to Balbriggan, and also his daughter Merjem for the great help she gives him and for clocking the pigeons, as he had to work.


8th South section, 9th Open O’Toole & O’Brien Sallynoggin, vel 1103, flying 221 miles, winning £150


We go back to the Sallynoggin club for 8th South section, 9th Open to the lofts of Christy O’Toole and Stephen O’Brien. Christy and Stephen had raced together before and in 2011 they raced separately but for 2012 they reformed the partnership and have achieved almost instant success here.

The pigeon timed is another hen sent sitting 17 days on eggs, having been raced lightly throughout the year. She was raced widowhood for the first few weeks, then switched to roundabout before being paired for the channel. This hen was in the 1st Talbenny this year, a difficult race for many and was sent to the Yearling National paired to her brother.

The sire is a Louis Correman cock that was a gift bird from Kelly & Foster and is one they bought from Bob Fenech. The dam is another gift from Kelly & Foster and this one was bred by Ray Matthews. The breeding of the dam is Janssen x Verheye.

The birds are fed on a Natural widowhood mix and get as much as they want when racing on the channel. Christy and Stephen give the birds an open hole when they racing on the channel and they are in and out all day.

O'Toole & O'Brien


9th South section, 10th Open G Daly & Son Donnycarney, vel 1082, flying 229 miles, winning £317 and the Charles Ingle Memorial Cup


9th South section, 10th Open goes to Gerry Daly and his son James racing in the Donnycarney club. The 10th spot has the added bonus of winning the Charles Ingle Memorial Trophy. 2009 was a great year for the Dalys when they were 1st Open South Road Fed St Malo as well as featuring in the result from the Yearling National and the Kings Cup.

The pigeon timed is a hen, racing roundabout. She was 3rd club Talbenny this year and on the Wednesday after the National she was 10th club from Penzance. The sire is bred down from pigeons obtained from Tom Boland, Halifax, while the dam is from their own pigeons. It is basically a Janssen with a few crosses over the years. This pigeon was 2nd section from the Young Bird Channel National in 2010, and came home from the Yearling National last year with her wings tied with cable tags. She has fully recovered from that and they hope to send her to the King’s Cup this year.

This is another loft on top form at the moment as they were 5th Open South Road Fed from Penzance on the same day as the National and timed 3 out of 4 from the National. The birds are raced on widowhood for the first five weeks then paired for about a week before going on the roundabout. While on the roundabout they are given short single tosses from about 5-6 miles.

Feeding is McCausland’s Energy Mix with a few peanuts added. They also use McCausland’s No 1, beans, peas, and tares throughout the year and wean their young birds on to it.


Thanks to all who helped with the photographs for this report. Thanks again to McCauslands for sponsoring the race and to all that helped at the marking station and clock centres.

Brendan McLoughlin

INFC Press Officer