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I N F C Skibbereen 09-10-17



The Irish National Flying Club held their Young Bird Inland National from Skibbereen in Co Cork on Friday 15th September. 255 members sent 2,275 birds to compete for £9,211 in pools and prizemoney. This was well down on last year’s entry which saw 310 members send 2,966 and the 2015 entry which saw 385 member s send 3,623 birds. One of the reasons for the reduced entry maybe that many of the racing organizations were racing on the same weekend due to the bad weather from the previous weekend. As with the Old Bird National the race was divided into 3 sections and I will cover the top 5 in each section in this article.

The birds were liberated at 8.30am in a light westerly wind which was to turn north northwesterly on the route home. It was widely anticipated that the Open would be won in Wexford but as it turned out it was actually won north of Wexford by Leonard & De Ridder from Arklow, with Derek Tierney of the Sarsfield club in Dublin winning the Middle section and Skibbereen Supremo Mr & Mrs Delaney from Dromore winning the North section.


1st Open, 1st South section, Leonard & De Ridder FBI Individual South, Vel 1417, Flying 157 miles, winning £78 and the Tom Marshall Trophy


The winners of 1st Open and 1st South section are Sheldon Leonard and Yannick De Ridder from Arklow. Now in a westerly wind you would expect Wexford to dominate the result and while they did for the most part this was an exceptional pigeon for Sheldon and Yannick to win the race by four yards per minute. In 2017 Sheldon and Yannick formed FBI (Flanders Breeding Ireland). They thought they would combine their breeding pigeons to form a team in Ireland based on the Van Den Bulck, Leo Heremans, Andre Roodhooft, F & J Vandenheede and Daniel Aeren’s pigeons for the distance. Their first youngsters were weaned in April this year but they still managed to darken them successfully. The young birds were only released around the loft in May and were training three weeks later. The Skibbereen National winner was a very consistent pigeon and flew every race winning the following positions; 11th club Dungarvan (363 birds), 11th club Pilmore Beach (429 birds), 5th club Dungarvan (480 birds), beaten many times by loftmates. The birds were split at the beginning of racing but then paired up coming up to the Nationals and the pairing was staggered over a two-week period. The same weekend as the National Sheldon and Yannick also won the IHUNFC from Barleycove (178 miles), a race in which they took 8 of the top ten positions. Both National winners are now at stock in the breeding loft at Yannick’s where they will be mated together, and they will bring some back to race next year.  They have named the Skibbereen National winner ‘Herbie’s White Kittle’ and his brother was 5th IHUNFC on the Sunday. Understandably they are thrilled with the way the ‘Kittle’ lines have gone this year. Training was Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday by road together with flying at the loft.


2nd South section Billy Cullimore Wexford North & South, Vel 1413, Flying 130 miles, winning £178


2nd South section goes to Billy Cullimore, a winner of five Irish National Flying Club Nationals from Skibbereen.  2010 was a superb year for Billy when he was 1st and 2nd Open in both the Old Bird and Young Bird Nationals from Skibbereen. He also won back to back Old Bird Nationals in 2006 and 2007, and was 3rd South section in this race last year. The pigeon timed here was a chequer hen sent to this race sitting 12 days on eggs. She was 3rd the week before when Billy had 5 birds together. The sire, a winner of two South Leinster Feds is a son of ‘Stitch’ who won 8 x 1st clubs and Feds. He was Champion Old Bird in both club and Fed in 2005, 2006 and 2007 and was runner up in 2008. The dam is a daughter of ‘Rocket Ronnie’, a gift bird from Gerry O’Mara, Dublin, which was 5th Open Skibbereen Old Bird National in 2012 and topped the Fed three times. Breeding is mostly Van Loon and she has produced eight Fed winners. Billy trains the birds hard before racing then from Monday to Thursday up until the fourth race. After that they are flown at home twice a day and go to every race.

3rd South section Adam Hillis Wexford North & South, Vel 1404, Flying 126 miles, winning £54


3rd South section goes Adam Hillis of Wexford who won the Old Bird National from Skibbereen in 2015. It’s great to see this young 18 year old doing so well in the sport at a time when we are struggling to recruit new members. Of course, pigeon racing is in Adam’s blood as his grandparents Robert & Mary Hillis are also terrific racers in the Wexford club. Indeed the pigeon timed here is a Van Reet from Robert & Mary’s old bloodlines as was the 2015 National winner.  A blue tipped cock he was sent to the National sitting 14 days on eggs.  While a steady racer before earlier on this was the first prize for the blue tipped cock. Adam only trains up to the first race and then the birds are flown at home. He might change this routine for next year as he is due to sit his driving test in the coming months.

4th and 5th South section Dobbs Bros Wexford North & South, Vel 1395.98 and 1395.55, Flying 130 miles, winning £80


Dobbs Bros Wexford, winners of this race last year are 4th and 5th South section this time. This partnership also won this race in 1999. At that time the partnership was made up of brothers, Willie, Mattie and Leo but following Willie’s death a few years ago the lads found it hard to get going again. Nowadays it is just Leo but the partnership name remains intact. Leo has been back racing five years now after a break of six years. He still had the pigeons all this time but with work commitments and with his heart not being fully with the pigeons they weren’t raced. Leo’s first bird here was a cheq tipped hen racing to the perch which had previously won a couple of minor prizes. She had nine races this year including this one. Breeding is Van Loon x Maris with both parents being direct from these top lofts. Leo’s second pigeon taking 5th Open is a blue hen, also racing to the perch. This one had the same races as the first one and again had a few minor prizes. The breeding here is Flor Engels x Maris with the Flor Engels just introduced in 2015. Dobbs Bros had another super race here with other birds at 6th, 10th, 11th, 14th and 23rd South section against some stiff opposition.  Leo is very grateful to his “lovely” wife Muriel, and to Richie Butler and Patrick for all their help throughout the year. In closing Leo asked me to formally congratulate Sheldon and Yannick on their great win here.      


1st Middle section D Tierney Sarsfield, Vel 1358, Flying 174 miles, winning £317


The winner of the Middle section and a coveted Irish National Flying Club Diploma is Derek Tierney racing with the Sarsfield club in Dublin. Derek has had a terrific Young Bird season winning 5 out of 11 races in the competitive Sarsfield club. Derek is the proverbial small loft fancier with just a 20ft loft to house all his birds, and only keeps three pairs of stock pigeons. This bird wasn’t on Derek’s original team for this race but when he went to basket the birds she got in past him and went to a nest box with his trapper. When he went to catch her she nearly beat his hand off. Realising how keen she was he quickly added her to the team.  A blue hen she was bred by Kevin Rooney, Son & Dtr from Annalong from their Hereman Ceusters stock. The sire is a full brother to their number one Ceusters hen while the sire is a full bother of ‘De Jan’, while the dam is a granddaughter of ‘De Jan’. This blue hen has previously been 11th club (840 birds), 46th ISRF (9,000 birds) and 3rd club (741 birds, 22nd Fed (9,000 birds). Derek has named his section winner ‘Pearl’s Angel’ after his mother-in-law who sadly died two years ago. Derek had two more birds in the result here taking 9th and 19th Middle section, and ended the e season with a 10th Open Irish South Road Fed from Dunmanway.


2nd and 4th Middle section, N & N Smith Greenhills, Vel 1354 and 1288, Flying 175 miles, winning £216


Noel Smith and his son Noel from the Greenhills club in Dublin had a super race here with two birds in the top five in the Middle section at 2nd and 4th.  Staunch supports of the Irish National Flying Club they were 3rd Middle section in the Skibbereen Old Bird National in 2013 and in 2015. As it happens both birds timed here are related to the pigeon that was 3rd section in 2015. The youngster at 2nd section here is a daughter of  the 3rd Middle section 2015 bird. She was a latebred hen that was hatched on 18th November 2014. She had also been 19th Open Irish South Road Fed from Barleycove two days before basketing for the 2015 National and the previous week she had been 4th club, 23rd Irish South Road Fed from Skibbereen with approximately 10, 000 birds competing and the week before that she was 4th club, 70th Open from Mallow.

The breeding is Van Winkle with the sire from Noel’s good friend Val Flood, Dublin North East and the dam from clubmate Brian Brady. The 2nd section bird here is a dark cheq hen racing to the perch. The pigeon at 4th section here is a blue hen also racing to the perch. This dam of this one is a bird that was 3rd section in 2015. Breeding again is from Val Flood and Brian Brady. Noel Senior does most of the training to Greystones (20 miles) and over the last two weeks of the season training was with John Flynn to Blessington (15 miles)   


3rd Middle section Brady & Burton Sallynoggin, Vel 1293, Flying 175 miles, winning £50


We go to the Sallynoggin club in Dublin for our 3rd Middle section bird to the lofts of Brady & Burton, a partnership of John Brady and Vivienne Burton. They have had a great Young Bird season winning the Young Bird Average in the Sallynoggin club. They had 3 positions in the club from every young bird race including Penzance Young Bird National when they timed the only bird in the club. The club rule is that a member can only take three positions in any race. The pigeon timed here is red cock that was sent to the race sitting on eggs between a week and ten days. Breeding is Lambrecht and it was one of a kit of six obtained from Ian Wheatley. This bird had most races this year and was in the prizes four times including 4th club from Castletown (157 miles) in its previous race.  Throughout the season John and Vivienne train two or three times a week depending on the weather and over the last few weeks the youngsters are flown an hour a day at home.


5th Middle section Boylan Family Cabra, Vel 1283, Flying 176 miles, winning £50


5th South section goes to the Boylan Family from the Cabra club in Dublin. No further details available at the moment


1st North Section, Mr & Mrs G Delaney Dromore, Vel 1193, Flying 234 miles, winning £441  


The winners of the North section are Mr & Mrs Gerald Delaney from Dromore in Co Down. Gerald & Pat need no introduction as I doubt anybody can match their record from Skibbereen/Rosscarbery from where they have accumulated  over 80 first prizes. Their pigeons were obviously in tip top condition as they were 1st and 8th Open NIPA two days later (303 members sent 3023birds). They did something similar in 1980 when they won the NIPA Derby one week and followed that up by winning the Skibbereen National the following week. The pigeon timed here at 1st North section is a blue cheq hen sent sitting 10-12 days on eggs. She had only two races prior to the National. The sire is ‘Diamond Prince’, a nestmate of ‘Diamond Princess’ who was 1st Open Fermoy and 1st Open Fermoy 5 bird in 2016 for Delaney & McCambridge, Harmony. ‘Diamond Princess’ is the mother of the pigeon that was 3rd Open NIPA for Delaney & McCambridge. The Grandsire was ‘Ace of Diamonds’, ACE pigeon in 2010 and 2011for Willy Jacobs while the granddam is a direct daughter of Chris Massenhoven’s ‘Box 2’ pair and is a Van Den Bulck. Training is usually from the northern side of the border (18 miles) and they had only three tosses from Ardee (30 miles) as they had been flying so well at home. 

2nd North section, Herman McAvoy Harmony, Vel 1192, Flying 236 miles, winning £139


We move to the Harmony club outside Ballynahinch to the lofts of Herman McAvoy for our 2nd North section pigeon. This is Herman’s first full year racing in the Irish National Flying Club at this address and he was particularly pleased to have won the Charles Hunniford Trophy for best average Old Bird and Young Bird Skibbereens in the North section. The pigeon timed here is a blue cock flying to the perch. The breeding is Kees Bosua and Vigo with the parents direct from these two top lofts. Herman had seven of these Bosua and Vigo pigeons in the result at 2nd, 13th, 21st, 23rd, 37th, 67th and 87th North section. Darren Aiken of Dromara was 10th North section with another one similarly bred. In 2015 Herman was 2nd Open NIPA Young Bird Rosscarbery, beaten on that occasion by a yard as well with another Bosua x Vigo. These birds have also performed very well for Herman’s partner Bernie Cochrane.  


3rd North section, Delaney & McCambridge Harmony, Vel 1191, Flying 234 miles, winning £293


We stay in the Harmony club for our 3rd North section bird to the lofts of Delaney & McCambridge. I’m sure they don’t need an instruction at this stage but they are 14 year old Jack Delaney and 12 year old Ronan McCambridge and they are grandchildren of Mr & Mrs Gerald Delaney winners of the North section here. These young lads have had another great season and thoroughly enjoy the family competition. They have been the RPRA’s Young Fanciers of the Year 5 times in the Irish Region as well the overall title. The sire of the pigeon timed here is ‘King of Diamonds’, a brother of Wily Jacobs’ ‘Ace of Diamonds’. ‘King of Diamonds has bred 6 x 1st Open winners. The sire of the young bird timed here is a full brother to Andy Cooke’s bird that was 4th Open NIPA Rosscarbery and 22nd North section in this race last year. The Dam is a direct Gustav Bouckman and is a Dirk Van Den Baulk. Jack and Ronan had a great race here with other birds at 27thm, 46th, 47th, 63rd, 91st and 96th North section. They also won £700 in the Harmony club’s Gold Ring race.  Jack’s father Stephen is a great help to the boys and does all the training.  

4th North section John F McCabe & Son Newry & Dist, Vel 1176, Flying 219 miles, winning £75


John F McCabe & Son Newry & District are 4th North section to improve on last year when they were 16th North section. John and Conor have had a great year this year having topped the NIPA from Gowran Park in the Old Birds (878 members sent 25,206 birds) and then in the Young Bird race from the same race point they were 3rd and 4th Open (723 members sent 21,931 birds) and from Fermoy were 1st section G (51 members sent 1,263 birds), 9th Open (534 members sent 11,180 birds).  This is great racing from a loft that starts off with 50 young birds and which had 3 x 1sts in the Young Birds. The pigeon timed here is a blue hen sent to this race just racing to the perch. She missed the Area Liberations and started in Roscrea and had only Gowran Park and Fermoy before the National. Her sire is a Soontjens from Davy Hutchinson Ashfield while the dam is from Jacob Poortbliet, Holland.   


5th North section Donnelly Bros Newry, Vel 1173, Flying 221miles, winning £220


5th North section goes to the Millvale lofts of Donnelly Bros who win the De-Scheemaecker Trophy for runner up best averages all INFC races. They are former winners of the Friendship National, and Richard and John have the great distinction this year as being the only loft in Ireland to time in all three French races. They were 2nd Open NIPA St Malo, had three in the King’s Cup result at 90th, 119th and 147th Open and 7th Open Friendship National. The pigeon timed here is a blue bar cock that was sent to this race driving his hen to the nest, having lost his original hen in Talbenny. He is a double grandson of ‘Scarecrow’, a pigeon that won 3 x 1st Open NIPA and no less than 6 RPRA awards. He twice won the 0 250 category in the Irish Region and was also Best All Round in the Irish Region. In the overall RPRA competing against all regions he was voted, Best Sprint, Best All Round and was 3rd in the All Round Category the previous year. The young blue bar had most races this year except Talbenny, and while consistent he hadn’t won any prizes. Training is three times a week to Ardee or Castlebellingham with Ivan Mawhinney.


The committee of the Irish National Flying Club would like to thank all those who helped at the marking station and all who helped at the clock centres and I would like to thank all who helped with photographs for this report.



Brendan McLoughlin

INFC Press Officer