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Homers Odyssey - 10-11-20

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RPRA (Irish Region) Awards 2020 – Single Bird performance Talbenny & Bude

Sect A – Brendan Morgan Coalisland & District Vel 1148, Sect B – Danny Dixon Ballymoney HPS Vel 1171, Sect C- Rea & Magill Larne & District Vel 1180, Sect D – P & J Boal Dromore Vel 1145, Sect E – Ron Williamson Bondhill Soc Vel 1138, Sect F – Burns & Coates Ards HPS Vel 908, Sect G - R Williamson Newry & Dist Vel 1085, Sect H – No Claim. Overall Winner – Rea & Magill Larne & District HPS Vel 1180.

RPRA (Irish Region) - Mileage Awards 2020

0-250 Miles Ron Williamson Newry & District, 251-450 Miles R Carson & Son Banbridge, 450 + Miles Ron Williamson Bondhill Social.

Best YB Performance 2020 – Sands & Rice, Ballyholland HPS

Best OB Performance 2020- Ron Williamson, Newry & District

RPRA (Irish Region) Young Fancier Mileage Awards 2020

0-250 Miles Keelie Wright Lurgan Social, 251-450 Miles Keelie Wright Lurgan Social, 450 + Miles No Claim.

RPRA (Irish Region) Young Fancier of the Year 2020 – 1st Miss Keelie Wright, Lurgan Social

Willing Lofts should send me bird details, breeding/racing and results and a photo of the bird and/or fancier if possible, to arrange press coverage. Regards Homer.

NIPA National & Classic winners 2020:

B Fletcher & Son Cup (Skibbereen OB National) – R Williamson, Newry & Dist Vel 1509; Northern Bank Cup (Skibbereen Ylr National Cock) – G & M Atcheson, Ligoniel Vel 1443; Northern Bank Cup (Skibbereen Ylr National Hen) – O Markey, Ballyholland Vel  1439; Nres of the World, McComb Cup and Cup (St Malo OB National) – R Carson & Son, Banbridge Vel 1682; D McNeilly Cup (Runner-up St Malo) – R & J Parke, Windsor Social Vel 1655; McKeown Cup (Talbenny YB National) – Rafferty & Toman, Gilford Vel 1399; Volvo Cup (Fermoy 5 Bird Championship) – J F McCabe, Newry & Dist Vel 1249.


Jason Parke from the Windsor Social won 2nd Open NIPA St Malo OB Nat and collected the D McNeilly Cup.

parkebird 1

“St Malo Queen” the winner of 1st Sect B for R & J Parke, Bushmills.

rafftalb 15 09 20

Rafferty & Toman from Gilford & District won 1st Open NIPA in the Talbenny YB Nat and collect's the McKeown Cup.

magicaljen 15 09 20

“Magical Jen” bred by Geoffrey Douglas wins the NIPA Talbenny YB National, raced by Rafferty & Toman.

Old Bird Trophy winners 2020:

G F Whiteside Cup (Tullamore) – R Williamson, Newry & Dist Vel 1539; Gilmour & Beattie Cup (Gowran Park) – R Williamson, Newry & Dist Vel 1339; S Calvert Cup (1st Corrin) – N Weir, Loughgall Vel 2016; R Harkness Cup (2nd Corrin) – R Williamson, Newry & Dist Vel 1467; Simpson Cup (Talbenny) – R Williamson, Newry & Dist Vel 1398; Vint Cup (Bude) – R Williamson, Bondhill Vel 1119; Mulgrew Family Cup (Fermoy) – Mal Maguire & Son, Newry & Dist Vel 1680.


Nelson Weir from Loughgall won 1st Open NIPA Corrin and collected S Calvert Cup

Young Bird Cups & Trophies 2020:

Frazer Animal Feeds Cup (Best Velocity 1st Area Liberations) – Sands & Rice, Ballyholland Vel 1497; Frazer Animal Feeds Cup (Best Velocity 2nd Area Liberations) - E & M Curran, Armagh HPS Vel 1425; B Hunter Cup (Roscrea) - Ed. Heaney & Son, Ligoniel Vel 1893; W V Troughton Cup (Gowran Park) – Sands & Rice, Ballyholland Vel 1286; S Inglis Cup (1st Fermoy) – R Williamson, Newry & Dist Vel 1398; J P O’Hagan Tyres Cup (Tullamore) - Gordon Bros & Son, Killyleagh Central Vel 2187; S Montgomery Cup (2nd Fermoy) – Ron Williamson, Newry & District Vel 1251.

First Young Bird Race Area Liberations Diplomas:

Sect B & Part A Clubs (Mullingar) – M Howard & Son, Coleraine Prem Vel 1374; Sect H Clubs (Mullingar) – M McGrinder, Mourne & Dist HPS Vel 1314; Sect C Clubs (Mullingar) – D M G Ferguson, Wheatfield Vel 1386; Sect E & Part A Clubs (Tullamore) – J & E Calvin, Annaghmore HPS Vel 1470; Sect D & G Clubs (Tullamore) – Sands & Rice, Ballyholland Vel 1497; Sect F Clubs (Navan) – C Healy, Killyleagh Central Vel 1314.

Second Young Bird Race Area Liberations Diplomas:

Sect B & Part A Clubs (Mullingar) – J L Madden, Coleraine Prem Vel 1310; Sect H Clubs (Mullingar) – D Canning, Derry & Dist HPS Vel 1295; Sect E & Part A Clubs (Tullamore) – E & M Curran, Armagh Vel 1425; Sect C Clubs (Tullamore) – Bingham & Seaton, Ligoniel Vel 1367; Sect D & G Clubs (Tullamore) – Sands & Rice, Ballyholland Vel 1374; Sect F Clubs (Mullingar) – C Healy, Killyleagh Central Vel 1183.


E & M Curran from Armagh had the best overall velocity in the Area Lib (2) and lift's winning Diploma. 

Fred Russell now has all the 1st Section Diplomas at the HQ; frames can be obtained at £7 each.

Loft Feature - 

This week we visit Markethill in County Armagh and feature one of the rising stars racing in the area, Richard McCracken in 2020 had a best ever season and emerged as Highest Prize-winner in the Markethill HPS.


Richard McCracken winner of 19 x 1sts in Markethill HPS since 2018.

Markethill is a village in County Armagh, Northern Ireland. It sits at the southern side of Gosford Forest Park. It had a population of 1,652 people in the 2011 Census. A livestock market is held here three times a week and each summer the world's largest Lambeg drumming contest takes place in the village. Wikipedia.

Q1. When started racing, what club and was any family involved? Why did you start in the pigeons and what birds did you start with?

Richard - I started racing in 1992 with my dad in Edgarstown HPS as R & J McCracken, now I'm a member of Markethill HPS  since 2018. I got the pigeon bug off an uncle (Sam Craig) while waiting on race day with him.

Q2. What organizations do you fly with currently?

Richard - I race with the NIPA competing in Sect E and the Irish National FC.


Red Cheq winner of 1st Sect E 102/3943 in the YB Roscrea, velocity 1841.

Q3. Your Loft, Structure, length and how many?

Richard – All told I have 3 individual lofts one 12 x 6ft for young birds, 14 x 5ft for Roundabout and a 10 x 6ft for hens.

Q4. Racing/training methods for old birds and young birds. Do you put YB’s on Darkness System, and what about Old Birds – Widowhood, Roundabout or just Natural?

Richard - My old birds are raced on Roundabout and jealously hens, my young birds are all raced on the Darkness System. Training is with Derek Parr and by myself on other occasions.

Q5. Feeding and systems etc over the season?

Richard - Feeding is from Gem via Kirkwoods of Lisburn and van Tilburg via Henry McLaughlin of Coalisland. Products used are from Jeff Greenaway and Frazer's.

Q6. Treatments, what and when used? Do you use Vitamins, if so what?

Richard - Treating my birds is very minimal, I get the droppings tested on occasions and treat if necessary.

Q7. Breeding info when done etc.? - now that the rings are available before Christmas.

Richard - I paired my stock birds on Boxing Day, and the roundabout birds on St Valentine's Day 14th February.

Q8. Birds at stock, strains kept and families etc.?

Richard - Families of pigeons kept are mostly from Derek Parr, top Coorman, van Loon and Lambrecht’s, also from the late Martin Hagen and Philip Rooney. For the longer races from Eddie McKnight from the late 90's. Newly introduced this year are Sticker Donckers from Farmview Lofts in Randalstown.

H R Cock

Hagen and Rooney cock multiple winner himself now breeding winners for Richard McCracken.

Q9. Racing results over the years – Club, Sect & Combine and best Open positions with NIPA & INFC?

Richard - Since joining Markethill HPS in the young bird season of 2018 I have won 19 x 1st prizes, a few of my best results are as follows.  

5th Open & 3rd Section E, 33rd Open & 20th Section E,120th Open & 68th Section E. From St Malo (France) sending 4 birds and timing the 4 in 1hr 30mins, also in young bird’s this year 1st Section E from Roscrea 102/3943 velocity 1841.

Barbaras Pride

Just named this wee hen “Barbara's Pride” after my late mother. This hen was 1st Club, 3rd Section E & 5th Open NIPA St Malo 479/2,714 velocity 1633 flying 446 miles.

Q10. Outstanding racers and stock birds since starting the sport?

Richard - One cock stands out, racing 9 cross channel races and 8 times making the Open and Section results.


Blue Cheq, the good cross channel cock, see text.

Q11. What about cross channel racing both old bird and young bird?

Richard - All my yearling birds must fly Penzance, the longest race before France. My young birds fly right through the entire programme.

Q12. Any positions held past or present? – Any work covered at the club?

Richard - Throughout the club I try to help out the best I can, no positions held.

Q13. Special mention of anyone who helped, or influenced you in the sport? Any views for the future?

Richard - I would like to thank Derek Parr for all his help over the last few years, also all the members of Markethill HPS who I must say a great club, and a great bunch of lads.

Q14. Lastly but not least, your best result, and what was biggest disappointment in the sport?

Richard - Again my St Malo Nat result this year and winning 1st Sect Roscrea, I don’t think you ever forget the first ones. My biggest disappointment was last year winning 6 young bird races then failing to time out of Penzance Young Bird National.

Q15. Anything I missed you would like to mention?

Richard - I would like to thank everyone who has helped me over the last few years and my wife Leanne for looking after the birds while I'm away working in England over the winter months.

 HOMER. Willie Reynolds

Tel/Fax: (028) 256 44683

Mobile: 07538 238364

Twitter: willie reynolds@homerbhw>

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