From the Barrow Valley 3
There has been some great families of pigeons cultivated here in Ireland over the years, some of them, winning for years on end. There have also been some great pigeon racing families who have raced pigeons here in our own area of Carlow, none more so than the Hurley’s. There are three of them actively involved at the moment, father Jimmy, eldest son JJ and second son Davy, they all race as individuals, at the moment from two different locations but normally from three different locations, JJ being in transition at the moment.
Just looking through last years prize list alone, shows JJ Hurley having won seven of the thirteen old bird races flown in 2021, including 3rd section C and 9th Open Valencia  National with the IHUNFC. Vel 1390ypm. In the second Valencia  National JJ was 8th section C and 30th Open in the IHUNFC. Vel 2235ypm. So regardless of what type of race we are having this man and his pigeons can adapt to suit the day in question. JJ also added three second and three third positions to his tally of winning positions for 2021.
Davy Hurley on the other hand would much prefer the longer inland races and the channel races, this year he had a great performance whilst winning both the Barlycove and Penzance races on the one day, winning 5th section C and 10th Open in the IHUNFC Penzance 2 race. When it came to St Malo in France, Davy Hurley sent 4 birds to this race, clocking three on the day to take 1st, 2nd, & 3rd club, 1st, 2nd & 8th section C, with his first bird finishing in 3rd Open IHUNFC on a velocity of 1610ypm, 8th Open on 1480ypm with his second bird & his 3rd bird finishing 21st Open for a fantastic team performance on the day. Davy’s fourth bird was actually picked up only four miles from home on the day of liberation, unfortunately it was given to a visiting fancier by the finder to be released some forty five miles away, supposedly closer to home, as it was mistaken for an east coast bird, however the fancier, rather than release the bird reported it to the IHU office, Davy was away over to pick up his bird the minute it was reported and it was back safely in Carlow on the Sunday morning, none the worse for its travels. It so happens that the bird was originally picked up not a stones throw from a Peregrine nest site, lucky bird that.
Davy also picked up another two wins during the young bird season to bring his years total to five wins, five seconds and three third plus other prominent club positions.
Father, Jimmy Hurley had a fairly low key season with the birds this year, but still winning two young bird races for his trouble. Jimmy’s speciality is in sending a minimal team to the races, and on several occasions showing the rest of us a clean pair of heels when sending only one entry, many is the jaw I have seen dropping to the floor, in the club house, when Jimmy’s clock has been read off for his single entry.
Jimmy Hurley being presented with his awards at a previous presentation.
In the past, one of the best performances put up by the Hurley family was when they took the first twenty positions in the federation, from an inland race, flying to three different locations in the town of Carlow with thirteen hundred and fifty birds having been sent by the three clubs in the town. Some flying, by any standards !
Jimmy Hurley outside his old bird racing loft.
Health issues, cocooning, and this Corona virus has kept Jimmy, our club secretary, away from the club this year, but in the full knowledge that everything was in hand to keep the club running smoothly, he was happy enough just to pop in for the results, of an evening. The health of our senior members has been a priority for the rest of us during these strange times.
So as I said, a great pigeon racing family, between them, they won ten of the thirteen old bird races and four of the nine young bird events, not bad in a club with thirteen to fifteen flying members sending from 300 to 500 birds per week.
In the rest of the races last year Donal Begley won four, one old bird and three of the young bird races, from the Valentia 1 old bird National Donal won 2nd and 7th section C and 20th and 29th Open on a very fast day. In the young bird Valentia 2 National, Donal finished a very creditable 2nd & 4th section C 2nd and 4th Open.
On a tough day, when velocities were down to 1167ypm. Joe Brennan had his birds in good nick this season, particularly the young birds, he took one of the old bird races and two of the young bird events, Joe who is rumoured to be racing his young birds on the darkness system, but that hasn’t been verified, for the last twenty years, and so that’s why he has been labelled “ No darkness Joe “, however he is a fierce competitor, taking twenty seven positions in the first six places, plus he races hard for the whole season.
No Darkness Joe Brennan.
The remaining old bird race plus second position, went to the partnership of Corcoran & Keegan, this was from Penzance on a very difficult day, the birds faced a gale force eight wind on that particular day and the velocities were down to 878ypm, for the two hundred and ten mile journey, the partnership finished in 3rd & 5th section C and a creditable 15th and 18th Open.
No Darkness Joe Brennan.
Well that’s it for another week, I hope that all are trying to keep safe and out of the way of this horrible pandemic.The breeding season should now be in full swing, so that and maybe the onset of some spring weather should boost most fanciers morals.