Final archive of 1976 -
My final two reports prior to the racing season of 1977 concerned the subject of road transport to Dinard in France, and some info on the planned AGM of the Irish Nat FC, some very interesting reading. With this part of my archive complete I will next cover the major races and items of interest for the 1977 season.
Four years on the trot out of France and an INFC Hall of Fame winner for E E & S Kavanagh of Arklow United RPC.
Clear the air NIPA Statement – Like many organisations the pigeon fancy is plagued by the grapevine and from experience we all know that this has the nasty habit of distorting the facts. To counteract rumours which are ripe at the-moment, the NIPA Committee have issued the following statement – At no time was the high cost of air freight considered, as a means to, cancel this mode of transport. However, after three weeks of protracted negotiations, this was inevitable as the company concerned refused point-blank to charter for us. At the same time, the RPRA had twice requested documentation for 1977 continental racing and the committee agreed that if the OB Derby was to be flown from Dinard this year, road transport was the only viable alternative.
As cross-channel ferry charges have increased 25% over the last year and after two substantial increases in the price of diesel fuel, the NIPA have agreed to charge carriage for 1977 season at £2.00 per crate however this will be reviewed before commencement of the YB Season. Entry fees for YB Derby races have been increased 10p per bird, this applies for the Open only. Dinard entry fees are unchanged. This year the NIPA are attaching perforated clock slips to Derby entry Forms and all Centre officials have been instructed that clocks are not to be handed out until the appropriate slip has been produced.
The late Tommy Harper from Ballymena & District holding his “National Triumph” the INFC Penzance YB Nat winner of 1978.
Over the past decade the commencement of racing has progressively started earlier. The NIPA have agreed, that next year, the starting date will revert back by one week. As the NIPA have acquired large stocks of RPRA Seals secretaries wishing to save expensive postal charges should place their orders with Sam Halliday immediately. The second ISN column by Martin Russell had the headline Venue Poser for INFC – Considerable speculation surrounds the race point most suited for the Old Bird National. Suggestions are numerous and varied. This controversy will form the main debate at the Irish National Flying Club’s Annual General meeting in Glenavy on Saturday at 2.30pm. Last season’s venue Rheims was a fiasco. The previous choice Nantes flown 11 successive years is also out of favour. The big question is – Where Next? To help solve the dilemma acting secretary Ronnie Johnston has obtained all the relevant details of the many suggested alternatives. Rennes, Nantes, Le Mans, Rheims and Angers. This information will be made available to all members attending the meeting. Wherever selected it is generally agreed that an early morning liberation is essential.
From a few years back members of the Foyle RPS in Derry City.
The Committee have a motion on the agenda to dispense with the Centre at Coleraine. On the other hand, Southern fanciers have a motion for an additional Centre in Dublin. The Committee also propose an increase in subscriptions of 50 pence all round. With rampant inflation this is inevitable. Just think, to distribute the AGM Agenda to all members at second class postage rates costs in the region of £200. Just checked firstly the Centre in Dublin was never approved and for the OB National Rennes was flown for the next 4 years.
Obituary Ken Wilkinson – One week after the passing of NIPA Patron Sammy Thompson I have the sad duty to now report on the passing of NIPA Chairman Ken Wilkinson of Antrim, after a period of illness. A super racer in his time he was total dedicated to his hobby of pigeon racing, as a Committee member for Section B and more recently involved with Mid Antrim Combine through New Antrim Amalgamated, he has for many years represented the local fancy. The welfare of the birds were his number one priority and he fought many cases over many years representing fanciers with planning approval for their lofts. He was involved with a number of clubs in his local area including Chimney Corner and was involved in a few partnerships as well, we remember Watson McBride & Wilkinson and his time as well looking after the birds of Victor McDonald, they all raced with success and he had lots of success as well racing on his own to lofts on the Castle View Road in Antrim. Because of ill health the birds were sold but he continued to hold his place as NIPA Chairman and in the last year was involved in a number of Zoom meetings. He liked the shows as well and penned many winners and every year was invited to judge at many of the local club events. He had a strong voice which did not always please but that was the character of the man, if he had something to say he said it. He helped many fanciers over many years and will be sadly missed, condolences to wife Eileen and the entire family circle at this sad time. The funeral was held on Monday (15th March), Service at 10.45am at his home, followed by service at All Saints Church Antrim at 11.30am, with interment at Roselawn Cemetery at 2.00pm. Willie Reynolds Homer.
The late Ken Wilkinson from Antrim, Chairman of the NIPA
NIPA Race programme 2021 -This is the proposed agreed race programme for 2021. I do not have to remind you that this programme could be amended at any time. There is an application from Glen HPS to become members for 2021, this application has been approved by the RPRA (Irish Region), as has the one from Crossgar.
NIPA Old Birds – Saturday 11th April Mullingar. Saturday 17th April Tullamore, Saturday 24th April Roscrea, Saturday 1st May Gowran Park, Saturday 8th May Fermoy, Saturday 15th May Castletown, Saturday 22nd May Barleycove Inl National, Saturday 22nd May Fermoy, Saturday 29th May Talbenny, Saturday 5th June Talbenny, Saturday 5th June Fermoy OB 5Bird Duplicating, Saturday 12th June Bude, Saturday 12th June Skibbereen Yearling National, Saturday 19th June Penzance & Penzance OB Classic, Saturday 19th June Fermoy, Thursday 24th June St Malo/Plougastel OB National.
NIPA Young Birds – Saturday 17th July Area Liberations, Saturday 24th July Area Liberations, Saturday 31st July Roscrea (Mass Lib), Saturday 7th August Gowran Park, Saturday 14th August Fermoy, Saturday 21st August Fermoy & Fermoy YB 5Bird, Saturday 28th August Talbenny YB National, Saturday 28th August Roscrea, Saturday 4th September Corrin, Saturday 11th September Skibbereen YB Inl National.
INFC Race Programme 2021 - The 2020 proposed race programme will also remain with revised 2021 dates. This will once again be subject to any restrictions in place. Skibbereen Old Bird Tuesday 25th May, Sennen Cove Yearling Nat Wednesday 9th June, St Allouestre Kings Cup Friday 2nd July, Plougastel-Daoulas or Lamballe Friendship Nat Friday 9th July, Penzance YB Grand Nat Wednesday 1st September, Skibbereen Young Bird Saturday 18th September. The management committee plan a review of the situation in mid / end of March when hopefully they will be in a position, to make informed decisions on the way forward for the 2021 season.
Cullybackey Dinner & Prizes 2009 -
The annual dinner and prize distribution of Cullybackey HPS was held last weekend in the Michelin Athletic Club in Ballymena, President Brian Herbison welcomed a good turn-out of the members and introduced the guests who included Homer & Rosie and Mrs Spence and son Wilner who have attended this function for many years. Other officials present included Chairman Harry McCloy, Secretary Edrick Davidson and Treasurer Tommy Taylor all with the good ladies. Also good to see Rosie McCloy who has had a spell in hospital also present for a short time, currently she is under doctor’s orders at home and we all wish her well.
Cullybackey Secretary Edrick Davidson (r) with Len Russell who had a great season, including 3rd Open NIPA from St Malo OB National.
Alan Darragh was the Top Prize-winner followed by Russell Bros, Gary Gibson, Sammy Steele, H & R McCloy, Scott & Spratt, Des Robinson, J & J Greer, Reid Bros & McCloy and D Robinson & Son.
Alan Darragh collects the Russell Family Cup for Top Prize-winner from Mrs Spence at the Cullybackey prize night held in MAC Ballymena.
Sammy Steele had a consistent season timing five birds in the Talbenny YB Nat.
Young James Greer collects prizes from Rosie for the J & J Greer team.
Chairman Harry McCloy (l) had a super season racing as Reid Bros & McCloy.
Alan topped the Mid Antrim Combine on two occasions both with INFC, his top results included 1st Comb, 9th North Sect & 11th Open INFC Kings Cup Plaudren/Vannes recording velocity 1362 at 513 miles. In the hard Old Hens Nat from Penzance the loft finished 10th Open INFC doing velocity 820. With the NIPA he collects yet another Bronze Diploma for dual single bird performance in the OB National, 7th Sect B & 43rd Open NIPA St Malo in 2008 and 26th Sect B & 150th Open NIPA St Malo 2009.
The two top lofts have previously won the Northern Ireland Fancier of the Year award, Russell Bros almost won the race from St Malo with a single entry to finish 1st Comb, 1st Sect B & 3rd Open NIPA doing velocity 1257 plus £1,185. In Mid Antrim they win the McIlhagga Memorial Cup and in the NIPA the Les Mairs Memorial Cup for 1st Sect B and also the Harper Cup for best Average in the two main races i.e.. St Malo Old Bird Nat and Talbenny Young Bird Nat.
The Chairman, young Harry McCloy is also getting better every year and with a new modern loft installed at The Rock, the famous location of the Reid Bros will be looking for results across the race programme. The top result last year was recording an arrival in the very hard Friendship Nat only 22 birds home. In the race from Picauville 437 miles the loft finished 1st Comb & 13th Open INFC on velocity 521.
Cullybackey President Brian Herbinson presents a new cup in memory of his father Stewart to the officials at Cullybackey HPS. Chairman Harry McCloy (l) and Secretary Edrick Davidson.
N & S Anderson are always on hand to do work around the clubroom, racing or showing.
The 2009 Cup Winning List included: Russell Family Cup (Highest Prize-winner) won by A Darragh, A & G McCullough Cup (Rosscarbery OB Nat) won by Reid Bros & McCloy, Patton Plant Sales Cup (1st Talbenny) won by H & R McCloy, G McCloy Cup (2nd Talbenny) won by G Gibson, B Herbinson Cup (Bude) won by D Robinson, S Moore Cup (Sennen Cove) won by D Robinson & Son, S Reid Cup (Sennen Cove 2 Bird Ave) won by S Steele, France Derby Cup (St Malo) won by Russell Bros, Ladies Cup (Yearling Nat) won by D Robinson, R Rock Memorial Cup (OB Nat) won by A Darragh, Robinson & Livingstone Cup (Rosascarbery YB Nat) won by G Gibson, J Blaney Cup (Talbenny YB Nat) won by Russell Bros, Herbinson Cup (YB Nat Skibbereen) won by G Gibson, B Law Cup (Penzance YB Nat) – Not won, A Darragh Cup (All Derbies) won by Russell Bros, J Rock Cup (O/B Knock-Out) won by D Robinson, G Erwin Cup (Y/B Knock-Out) won by S Steele, Spence Cup (Inland OB Ave) won by H & R McCloy, Coronation Cup (O/B Channel Ave) won by J & J Greer, O’Kane Cup (O/B Ave) won by Armstrong Cup (Y/B Ave) won by Scott & Spratt, G Glenholmes Mem Cup (Bude & Penzance Ave) won by A Darragh, N Blaney Cup (2nd Talbenny, Bude & Penzance) won by J & J Greer, R McIlwaine Cup (Best Ave St Malo, Talbenny & Rosscarbery) won by Russell Bros, J Harkness Cup (Best Ave Talbenny & Rosscarbery YB Nat) won by S Steele, J Anderson Cup (Best Ave St Malo & Rosscarbery YB Nat) won by Russell Bros, J Harkness Cup (Best Ave Rosscarbery & Fermoy) won by G Gibson, W Allen Cup (Most Points O/B) won by H & R McCloy, Club Shield (Most Points Y/B) won by Scott & Spratt, J Blaney Memorial Cup (Penzance & St Malo) won by A Darragh, J Wheatcroft Cup (Mallow 5B O/B) won by H & R McCloy, Reid Bros & McCloy Cup (Kings Cup, St Malo & YB Nat) won by A Darragh, Moore Cup (Bude & O/B Nat) won by A Darragh, S Herbinson Mem Cup (Fermoy 5B Y/B) won by S Steele, Community Cup (Sennen Cove & St Malo) won by A Darragh, E G Leckey Cup (St Malo 2B Ave) won by A Darragh, T Livingstone Cup (Penzance O/B Classic) won by A Darragh, H Jackson & Novice Cup won by J Spiers.
From a few years back at an annual presentation, from (l) late Hugh Surgenor, Secretary James Harris, and ace racer Alan Darragh.
Prize presentation from a few years back including a lot of the old stars at Cullybackey Flying Club.
HOMER. Willie Reynolds
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