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Homer's Odyssey - 13-10-20

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MAC Young Bird Season 2020 –

All Mid Antrim Combine race reports were as usual penned by Mervyn Eagleson, a super PO for the local area, we have started to add members and birds and the result in now published in the Fancy Press. As per the rules, can’t forget about them, we have three positions per club at present that gives us a Top 15 as the official result. The three other local clubs missing would bring us up to a Top 24 and increase the highest level of competition. It was another record season from Danny Dixon who timed many early arrivals at his Ballymacaldrick Lofts in Dunloy to collect 5 x 1sts in the young birds and 6 x 1sts for the entire racing season. He won the Old Bird League, Champions League for Rasharkin & District, the 4th time he has won this, Young Bird League and the YB Knock-out, and lifted the majority of the cups and trophies that were available.

Mullingar in Co. Meath was the venue for the first young bird ace of the season. Birds were liberated on Saturday 8th August at 08.30am in little or no wind. Rasharkin fancier Danny Dixon has the best two birds in the Mid Antrim Combine with just over 1,600 birds competing. He timed his winning red cock at 10.54am for the 109 miles fly to the village of Dunloy. Sire is a son of "Heartbreaker" when paired to his Gert Heylen Jackpot Hen while the dam is a daughter of "Heartbreaker". Danny's second bird a blue chequer w/f hen timed just seconds behind is from a brother of "Heartbreaker" when paired to a daughter of the "Quiverman" This is the Dixon lofts second Combine win of the season have topped it from the tough Bude. Last weeks St Malo National Combine winner Harold Cubitt is again well placed winning 4th & 5th Combine.

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Danny Dixon from Dunloy won MAC five times in the young bird racing, 6 x 1sts in total.

Mid Antrim Combine Mullingar 48/1615 - D Dixon Rasharkin 1336, D Dixon 1336, W McFetridge Rasharkin 1332, H Cubitt Rasharkin 1332, H Cubitt 1332, W McFetridge 1326, T Whyte Rasharkin 1324, Blair & Rankin Ballymena 1304, Blair & Rankin 1303, W & J McLean Rasharkin 1301, Steele & McNeill Rasharkin 1289, Steele & McNeill 1288, Young & McManus Ahoghill 1285, Young & McManus 1285, Young & McManus 1283.

The second young bird race of the season was again from Mullingar in Co. Meath. Over 1,500 birds were liberated on Saturday 15th August at 1.35pm in a light east wind. Rasharkin fancier Danny Dixon had an excellent race winning the first nine positions in the Mid Antrim Combine and 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 19th and 21st Open NIPA area lib 3,876 birds. His winning blue flight hen sitting on eggs was clocked at 16.03pm for the 109 miles fly to the village of Dunloy. The sire is a brother of "Heartbreaker" while the dam a daughter of "Heartbreaker" The second bird clocked is a direct son of "Heartbreaker" paired to one of the last daughters of "Superke" Two Combine wins on the trot for the Dixon loft and his third Combine winner of the season.

Mid Antrim Combine Mullingar (2) 52/1521 - D Dixon Rasharkin 1294, D Dixon 1294, D Dixon 1294, D Dixon 1294, D Dixon 1294, D Dixon 1293, D Dixon 1292, D Dixon 1276, D Dixon 1276, G Gibson Associate 1273, Stewart Bros Randalstown 1270, W & J Smyth Ballymena 1267, H Cubitt Rasharkin 1267, H Cubitt 1266, H Cubitt 1265.

A poor weekend weather forecast delayed racing on the third weekend of the young bird season, race marking was Saturday evening and liberation in Roscrea in County Tipperary was Sunday 23rd August at 10.45am in a westerly wind turning variable en-route. There were some very heavy showers at the home end, conditions far from perfect for the longer flyers.

Winner of the Mid Antrim Combine this week are the Kells & District fanciers C & D Jackson. Davy who has the young birds in top form at present timed his chequer cock at 13.13pm flying 143 miles to the village. The winner is Stickers Donckers and is bred by Derek Parr. The Jackson lofts have had great success with the birds from Derek Parr having won 4 x 1st Combines last season with his birds, including 1st Section B Talbenny, 1st Section B Penzance and Penzance Classic and 1st Combine Castletown Yearling National.

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Davy Jackson from Kells & District took 1st in the MAC from Roscrea.

Mid Antrim Combine Roscrea 49/1453 - C & D Jackson Kells 1705, J Rock Associate 1697, R Service & Son Ballymena 1695, R H Clements Associate 1695, T & M Morrow Associate 1682, R H Clements 1681, Blair & Rankin Ballymena 1678, Blair & Rankin 1677, H Turkington Kells 1671, F & G & J Dickey Randalstown 1667, S Crawford Kells 1663, S Crawford 1662, J Rock 1661, W & J Smyth Ballymena 1660, C & D Jackson 1659.

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The consistent R Service & Son completed a record season in Ballymena & District winning 1st MAC from Tullamore.

For the fourth young bird race of the season the pigeons were transported to Gowran Park in County Kilkenny. The birds were liberated at 9.00am on Saturday 29th August in a light north wind. Rasharkin fancier Danny Dixon again had an outstanding result winning the top five positions in the Mid Antrim Combine in what turned out to be a pretty tough race. His winning dark chequer cock was timed at 13.05pm for the 167mile fly to the lofts in Dunloy. The cock is a direct son of "Heartbreaker" paired to one of the last daughters of "Superke" Danny's second bird just decimals behind is out of a daughter of "Denman" Martin Graham's INFC Sennen Cove Yearling National winner in 2018. The Dixon loft had the top nine positions in the Combine from the second area lib a fortnight ago and has now won 4 x 1st Mid Antrim Combines this season. Last week's Combine winner Davy Jackson of Kells is again well placed with three birds in the Top 10 and 1st Club for the second week.

Mid Antrim Combine Gowran Park 51/1375 - D Dixon Rasharkin 1201, D Dixon 1201, D Dixon 1200, D Dixon 1200, D Dixon 1197, C & D Jackson Kells 1197, J & M Milliken Rasharkin 1190, R Service & Son Ballymena 1185, C & D Jackson 1183, C & D Jackson 1180, Surgenor Bros Kells 1177, Surgenor Bros 1177, S Crawford Kells 1175, Surgenor Bros 1172, Surgenor Bros 1167.

Fermoy in Co. Cork was the venue for the fifth young bird race of the season. The birds were liberated at 11.00am on Sunday 6th September in a light north wind. Rasharkin fancier Danny Dixon who at present is having a fantastic young bird season again has the best two birds in the Mid Antrim Combine. Danny timed his winners at 15.43pm for the 208 miles fly to Dunloy. The first bird a blue hen is off his good Sticker Dunker cock when pair to a granddaughter of Wonder Boy on loan from Robert McCook of Ballymoney. His second bird a blue chequer cock is full brother to last week’s 1st Combine from Gowran Park. That’s 5 x 1st Mid Antrim Combine winners for the Dixon loft this season. Davy Jackson of Kells & Dist is next best in the Combine and just half a yard behind Danny's winner. Davy winning for the fourth race on the trot timed another direct Derek Parr pigeon this time a grandson of Red Barron and Kingpin. The consistent Roy Clements is fourth combine and Danny Dixon is in again at fifth.

Mid Antrim Combine Fermoy (1) 42/1008 - D Dixon Rasharkin 1291.9, D Dixon 1291.9, C & D Jackson Kells 1291.5, R H Clements Associate 1276, D Dixon 1272, S Crawford Kells 1270, C & D Jackson 1262, S Crawford 1257, J Eagleson & Sons Ballymena 1253, J Eagleson & Sons 1253, C & D Jackson 1250, F & G & J Dickey Randalstown 1247, D Dixon 1245, D Dixon 1245, R H Clements 1243.

The first classic race of the young bird season was the Talbenny YB National from Wales. The birds were liberated in a light westerly wind on Saturday 12th September at 8.00am. Surgenor Brothers of Kells & District who won 1st Open NIPA in this event only two years ago in 2018 again clocked the best bird in the Mid Antrim Combine and also 1st Section B and 9th Open NIPA 2616 birds. Geoff timed his blue hen at 12.36pm for the 217 miles fly to the lofts at Moorfields. The hen which had been flying to her perch began showing to a cock during the week before basketing. Breeding is Derek Parr's Van Loons through clubmate and good friend Davy Jackson. Next best Danny Dixon of Rasharkin again had a top result with 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th Combine. His first pigeon is bred from a son of Martin Graham's "Big Hen" when paired to a Billy Brooks hen from Pat Shields. His second bird was joint 1st Mid Antrim Combine last week from Fermoy and sent back to Talbenny.

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Surgenor Bros former winners of NIPA Talbenny YB Nat won 1st MAC again in 2020.

Mid Antrim Combine Talbenny YB Nat 38/201 - Surgenor Bros Kells 1384, D Dixon Rasharkin 1360, D Dixon 1354, D Dixon 1341, D Dixon 1322, A Shiels Ahoghill 1309, Steele & McNeill Rasharkin 1308, F J & G Dickey Randalstown 1304, J Miller Randalstown 1299, Blair & Rankin Ballymena 1297, Gregg Bros Kells 1285, D Dixon 1282, W & J Smyth Ballymena 1279, McFarlane & Agnew Kells 1271, Blair & Rankin 1270.

The NIPA held their comeback race from Tullamore. Birds were liberated on Saturday 12th September at 9.00am in a light south west wind. Best Bird in area was clocked was by the consistent Service partnership of Robert and son Robin to win 1st Mid Antrim Combine. Their blue hen was clocked at 10.51am flying 125 miles to Drumtara. This is the hens third prize of the season including 4th club & 18th Combine from Gowran park in a race they also won with the hens nest mate placed 8th Combine that day. The sire which has already bred 1st Section B Yearling Hens National in 2018 is a full brother to their good 5 x 1st cock. The dam is nestmate to the mother of their 1st club and 3rd Combine bird from Roscrea young birds. That's six club wins this season for the hard working club and Mid Antrim Combine Chairman Robert and Ballymena club Treasurer Robin. Next best in the Combine with two good birds was associate member Roy Clements taking 2nd & 4th positions. These birds were split by the Kells & Dist winner Sam Crawford taking 3rd.

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Sam Crawford from Kells returned to the sport and scored 1st MAC in the 5 Bird Fermoy.

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NIPA Committee member Sam Murphy (l) presents the Frazer Voucher for 1st Sect B in the Fermoy 5 Bird to Sam Crawford of Kells & District.

Mid Antrim Combine Tullamore 31/502 - R Service & Son Ballymena 1977, R H Clements Associate 1969, S Crawford Kells 1960, R H Clements 1956, H Boyd Kells 1951, S Crawford Kells 1945, J Eagleson & Sons Ballymena 1925, R Service & Son 1923, J Eagleson & Sons 1921, D Dixon Rasharkin 1911, J Smyth & Son Ahoghill 1907, J Eagleson & Sons 1902, D Dixon 1897, D Dixon 1896, D Dixon 1896.

The pigeons were in Fermoy in Co. Cork for the penultimate young bird race of the season. The birds were liberated at 9.30am on Saturday 19th September in a north east wind. Danny Dixon was again best in the Mid Antrim Combine for the sixth time this season of which five of these wins have come in this remarkable young bird season. Danny who had the top six positions in the Combine timed his winner at 14.33pm for the 208 miles fly to Dunloy. The winning blue hen bred from pigeons Danny purchased directly from Rudy van Reeth is also placed 2nd Section B and 62nd Open NIPA with 6797 birds. Next best to Danny in the Combine is the Kells & District winner Sam Crawford who has just started up again after a 28 year break. Sam's pigeon was the best in the 5 Bird Championship event and wins 1st Combine, 1st Section B and 40th Open NIPA with 1101 birds competing.

Mid Antrim Combine Fermoy (2) 32/418 - D Dixon Rasharkin 1208, D Dixon 1204, D Dixon 1203, D Dixon 1198, D Dixon 1185, D Dixon 1185, S Crawford Kells 1179, D Dixon 1177, D Dixon 1176, S Crawford 1156, Blair & Rankin Ballymena 1147, R H Clements Associate 1139, Steele & McNeill Rasharkin 1139, J Eagleson & Sons Ballymena 1134, W McFetridge Rasharkin 1117.

The young bird 5 Bird Classic event was flown in duplicate from Fermoy in Co. Cork. Best bird in the Mid Antrim Combine was timed by Kells fancier Sam Crawford with a velocity of 1179. Sam is only back into the pigeons this season having been out of the sport for 28 years. His young bird’s have hit form in the past few weeks winning many club prizes and Mid Antrim Combine positions in the Top 10. His winner a blue pied cock flying to the perch was timed at 14.30hrs after the 201mile fly to the lofts in Moorfields. The nestmate won 1st Club and 3rd Combine from Tullamore last weekend. Both birds are from a kit of youngsters from Gerard Delaney of O'Rorry Hill stud, the breeding being Gustaaf Emil Dillen.

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Brendan Morgan from Coalisland collects his Frazer Voucher for 1st Sect A in the Fermoy 5 Bird.

Mid Antrim Combine 5 Bird Championship - Sam Crawford Kells 1179, D Dixon Rasharkin 1158, D Dixon 1140, R H Clements Associate 1139, Steele & McNeill Rasharkin 1139, J Eagleson & Sons Ballymena 1134, J Rock Associate 1113, Blair & Rankin Ballymena 1109, R Service & Son Ballymena 1099, George Bell Ballymena 1097, F & G & J Dickey Randalstown 1097, Blair & Rankin 1093, J Eagleson & Sons 1091, D Dixon 1089, J Rock 1073.

Combine YB Points Top 5 (including normal Fermoy) - D Dixon Rasharkin 433, Sam Crawford Kells 83, R H Clements Associate 77, C & D Jackson Kells 66, Blair & Rankin Ballymena 56. With the final race from Skibbereen cancelled due to the change in restrictions this table was the final YB League result.

Young Bird Knock-Out - The draw has been made for the Young Bird Knock-Out competition on the same basis as was used for the Old Birds. The race programme to be used will be decided when the NIPA meet to consider the remainder of the young bird season, it would be hoped that the final would either be flown from Talbenny or if that is not available Skibbereen National. Some of the opening matches include Danny Dixon v Chris Young, J Millar & Son v G & A Eagleson, Adrian Shiels v Tom Young & Son, Harold Cubitt v R H Clements, Jimmy Rock v Stewart Bros, W & J Smyth v Hugh Boyd, Harry Boyd v A Barkley & Son, Martin Graham v F & G & J Dickey, A C & T Tweed v Gary Gibson, C & D Jackson v Blair & Rankin, Denis Craig v Freddie Barkley, MDC Magill v Young McManus & Sons, in all we have 32 matches and I will give more details later.

The Quarter Final matches for Gowran Park this weekend with results are as follows. Danny Dixon (Rasharkin) 1201 v Henry Turkington (Kells) 1145, J Smyth & Son (Ahoghill) 1145 v Stewart Bros (Randalstown), W & J Smyth (Ballymena) 1104 v F & J & G Dickey (Randalstown) 1158, Blair & Rankin (Ballymena) 1155 v R Service & Son (Ballymena) 1185, From Fermoy this weekend the semi-finals are D Dixon v J Smyth & Son and F & J & G Dickey v R Service & Son with final at Talbenny on 12th September.

Young Bird Knock-out final at Talbenny – Danny Dixon (Rasharkin) 1360 v F & G & J Dickey (Randalstown) 1304. Great final with both lofts 1st Club winners, congratulations to winner Danny Dixon who is having an outstanding young bird season.

Prize List & Awards 2020 – Old Bird Inland Average won by J Eagleson & Sons vel 1421, Cross Channel Average won by D Dixon, Old Bird Average won by D Dixon, McIlhagga Cup for 1st MAC St Malo OB Nat won by Harold Cubitt Rasharkin vel 1589, B Eagleson Memorial Cup best average Talbenny (1) & (2), Bude and Penzance (Not won in 2020), T Shanks Memorial Cup Old Bird of the Year, Les Mairs OB Fancier of the Year won by D Dixon, Herbison Cup Young Bird Ave won by D Dixon, New North Cup best average Bude OB & Talbenny YB won by D Dixon, and Parker Cup Combined Average won by D Dixon.

Club Points Shield for Old Birds, Club Points Shield Young Birds won by Rasharkin & Dist. Champions League Shield & Diploma won by Rasharkin & Dist (D Dixon), INFC Points Cup (Not won in 2020). Old Bird Knock-Out won by Allen McBride (Associate), Young Bird Knock-Out won by D Dixon (Rasharkin), Old Bird Points League won by D Dixon (206 Points) & Young Bird Points League won by D Dixon (404 Points). Only one Diploma per member in 2020 regardless the number of 1sts won. Cup & Trophy list will be finally confirmed later. We are looking for claims re Old Bird of the Year, Young Bird of the Year and Best Individual Bird Talbenny & Bude as per the RPRA Merit Award.

With this report I have included a wee picture up of John O’Donnell (Strabane) on his 80th birthday he buys the BHW faithfully every week, and was featured at one time in the Racing Pigeon Gazette, getting on the front cover.  John was a very good distance flyer, and had a great record in Australia as well.

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John O’Donnell of Strabane & Dist recently celebrated his 80th birthday, congratulations John.

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John O’Donnell on the front cover of Pigeon Racing Gazette 1968, bit of time ago.

Markethill HPs Gold Ring race 2020 from the NIPA Talbenny YB National sponsored by H Beattie & Son. Congratulations to Mark Maguire & Son on winning our gold ring race and also taking 2nd. Well done to Donnelly Bros Newry City invitation taking 2nd and 3rd .

1.£500 .M Maguire & son Newry & District .GB20X-11807 - Vel 1374.73. 2. £250.M Maguire & son Newry & District. GB20X-11804 - Vel 1304.13. 3. £150. Donnelly Bros Newry City Invitation - Vel1303.15. 4. £100. Donnelly Bros Newry City Invitation - Vel 1302.87. Many thanks to all who took part in the annual event.

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Markethill 1st & 2nd M Maguire & son Newry & District receiving his cheque of £750 and the H Beattie & Son Crystal trophy from John Muldrew.


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Markethill 1st & 2nd M Maguire & son Newry & District receiving his cheque of £750 and the H Beattie & Son Crystal trophy from John Muldrew.

Markethill HPS - Annual Gold Ring race for 2021 will take place from Nipa’s YB National Talbenny. 50% of the money from this event will be given to the SOS fund and 50% as prize money after club costs. Looking forward to another big entry.

HOMER. Willie Reynolds

Tel/Fax: (028) 256 44683

Mobile: 07538 238364

Twitter: willie reynolds@homerbhw>

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