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Alan Busteed On The Bank of The Lee




          On the banks of the Lee          



As the night's shorten once again, we ponder what was, what should or what could have been. Every season now seems to come and go faster than the last one. Hopefully fanciers got what they wished for and if not then we just have to brush ourselves down and get back on the horse. I honestly feel regardless of one's results be it good, bad or ugly it's enjoying the hobby that should matter most. The snow has fallen within the lofts and the pigeons are slowly making their way through the moult. A wise fancier told me once to pay particular attention to the birds at this time of year as the moult is the time of the year where the following season can be won or lost. Soon our feathered friends will once again be wearing there Sunday suits and all going well, we can look forward with confidence to the next stage i.e. the breeding season.



Blackrock castle


For some it won't be long before the nest bowls once again start entering the mindframe and whether your inclined to go early or wait until a little later, I hope you achieve whatever it is that you desire. Cork City, my hometown is the main reason I penned this particular article, and, on this occasion, I have included a little piece on some of the local Cork fanciers who all contribute in various different ways to our great hobby. In the coming months I hope to continue this little project and include as many faces as possible from both sides of the river and beyond. It is my intention also to do several individual loft profiles and I can assure the fancy they will be worth waiting for.



North Cathedral and Shandon



Cork hasn't by any means a huge number of fanciers and I feel it's about time the fancy had an opportunity to see that we are alive and well in Cork. I feel it's imperative that the up and coming fanciers are encouraged to get involved as without them the future is bleak. The weather down here in the south of Ireland is generally mild, moist and very changeable with no shortage of rainfall. Fog is a common feature here in Cork with nearly 100 days of fog recorded on average every year. The fog can be visible upon the city centre as it rests over the great river Lee which flows through the valley. The powerful river Lee rises in the Shehy mountains flowing eastwardly through Cork and out through Cork harbour which is one of the largest natural harbours in the world.



St.Finbarrs Cathedral



Moving onwards I'd like to introduce some local fanciers to our viewers. I feel it's particularly important for me to state my interest here is solely only to promote the sport and the fanciers. I refuse to be influenced by just racing results alone as one thing we have in this sport is an abundance of characters and behind every character there's always a story to tell and I intend to tell it. For every winner there are many that come up short. Some shorter than others but this is the nature of the sport and these are the men and women that keep the show on the road. Photographed within this article you will see some of our fellow Cork fanciers starting with Timmy Hennessey who has had a tremendous season. Tim lives in close proximity to some of Corks most famous landmarks i.e. the famous North Cathedral and Shandon.


Timmy Hennessy


Tim had a great season with both his old and young bird teams racing on the north road and across the channel into Scotland. Indeed, he was duly rewarded for his Patience and hard work winning the Perth old bird race flying 370mls into Cork with his excellent yearling cheq cock. Not just did this exceptional yearling win Perth, he also won the Coleraine and Cookstown races in the build-up making him a special little pigeon. Tim also had a great yb season and a standout yb was his blue hen name Sally being an extremely consistent pigeon and herself winning 3 yb races from Rosslare out to Cookstown 202 miles. I’m sure Tim has plenty of more in the tank for the days ahead.



 Timmy Hennessy




Timmy Hennessy



Next up is my neighbour Wayne Carroll who is another exceptional fancier in his own right. Wayne has been busy this year relocating his lofts and has been settling the birds in due course. Once settled Wayne has been busy training with the ybs and to his credit has notched up a nice little win along the way. Wayne has been going nicely last few seasons and has the makings of a nice team prepared. Within this team a little Jem lyes in the way of his good blue cock who has flown the channel from Scotland now four times. He has been to Girvan, Mauchline, Hamilton and Stirling. Wayne has now christened him 007 (Bond) due to his ring number. I’m certain that Wayne is going to have a big impact on the Pigeon racing scene next year and in the coming years also. Enclosed in the photos are Wayne and his two lovely children, son Alex and daughter Maisie whom maybe in time someday might also follow in their father's footsteps.


Wayne Carroll, son Alex, daughter Maisie and 007



007 (Bond) 4 times across the channel.




There is so much talent on the pigeon scene in Cork it is frightening, and the competition is fierce.


Another great competitor is a gentleman by the name of Tony Kavanagh, Tony has returned to this great sport a few years back and by God he is leaving his mark. Tony has had a great season and is certainly one to watch and from what I can see Tony seems to be going from strength to strength from year to year and credit to him for dedication, perseverance and hard work pays dividends. Two particular highlights for Tony this season are firstly his beautiful 2 yr old black hen who was clocked in flying from Perth in Scotland flying 8 hrs 38 minutes on the wing finishing 1st club/3rd fed 370 mls. Super flying and to add to that Tony also found a little gem in the yb section a lovely blue cock who was very consistent and duly rewarded Tony when he was clocked in from Cookstown flying 202 miles inland in a time of 8hrs 57 minutes to take 1st club/ 2nd fed being one of only 2 pigeons on the day. Well done Tony I am sure there lots more to come.



Tony Kavanagh



Tony Kavanagh’s good blue yb       



Tony Kavanagh’s black Perth hen     



Next, we come to the lofts of Charles Foley another young gentleman fancier who loves this sport and to say Charles is keen is an understatement. Charles has been knocking at the door for a while now and this season he was certainly another to watch out for. Charles had his fair share of birds in the clock this year to his credit and he was delighted to be able to raise the red flag when his lovely blue hen hit the trap to be 1st Portlaw and shortly after again timing her to be 3rd from Newross. To top off the season Charles clocked in his lovely Dark cheq yb to be 1st Wellington bridge, the bridge being a tricky race point at times. Charles is a family man and all the family are fascinated with his daily hobby none more so than his lovely daughter Sarah who is showing a keen interest which is great to see, well done Charles.



Charles Foley and daughter Sarah with her favourite pigeon


Charles Dark cheq yb1st Wellington bridge  



Charles Blue hen 1st Portlaw    



Travelling across the river we come to another terrific fancier and gentleman in the name of Donal Luxford. Donie as he is more commonly known was a superb football player in his prime playing in the colours of Casement Celtic and Temple United. Donie was always dedicated and ultra-competitive on the field of play. Donie is also displaying the same competitive traits when it comes to his racing pigeons as it isn't very often that Donie's clock is not on the table at clock pulling time such is his regular consistency. Donie and his good friend Tom Murphy from ballyphehane decided to take a trip to the very impressive set up of Mr. Sheldon Leonard and Mr. Karl Donnelly. To say the lads were impressed is an understatement and both Donie and Thomas would like to express their thanks and appreciation to both Sheldon and Karl for the wonderful hospitality they were shown on the day.



Thomas Murphy & Donie Luxford


Donie Luxford



Donie hits the jackpot



Travelling back across the bridge we head high to the hills where it is here that one will find the legend Joe freyne. Joe who is more commonly known as Josser is another great stalwart of the pigeon sport. Joe is around Pigeons all his life and be it short, middle, long, with or without water Joe's name is guaranteed to crop up. With only a small team of birds Joe works them well. No matter the task Joe will always clock one in and is highly respected not just in Cork but all over the country and beyond. Not just is Joe freyne an accomplished fancier but he is also an accomplished doggy man as we would say. Joe is a very dedicated Drag Hound racer and to say he competes would do him no justice for Joe has literally done it all. Enclosed with these Photo's is one of Joe himself captured with his 3 famous champion dogs. These 3 unique specimens have won over 100 races between them and along the way all 3 dogs have taken to the podium being crowned as Munster, All Ireland and top it off International champions, a truly incredible feat. Joe informed me that the dogs are a father and two sons, incredible! I intend to delve much further into the world of Joe freyne in the coming months so keep an eye out for this piece as it will be a little special to say the least.


Joe Freyne with his 3 champions



Just within a short walking distance of Joe's is another character of the sport in the name of Lawrence Morey. Larry as we are accustomed to calling him is a fancier that is in my opinion one of the great characters within the sport of pigeon racing today. Larry started out pigeons in the early years in the company of his late brother Bernard who unfortunately passed away in the year of 1980. Larry is a most likeable character and looks forward to each season with high hopes and like us all sets his goal and hopes to achieve it. Larry is a very passionate pigeon fancier and his work rate and effort to do well is unquestionable. Larry has clocked a number of good pigeons over the last few seasons and has timed in from across the water also. Enclosed in Larry's photo is his very tame black pied hen. This hen is named Aisling Marigold after Larry's daughter and mother. This lovely hen returned from the Penzance channel race this year in race time but unfortunately was short her rubber tube, A most unfortunate thing to happen. I have no doubt Larry will be knocking hard on the door for the next few years and we wish you the very best of luck in your pursuit going forward.



Larry and his pied hen



Larry's lovely loft set up



Across the big pond resides a gentleman by the name of Isaac Chute. Isaac currently lives in Marblehead, Massachusetts in the United States of America. Isaac is originally a native of cork city and is also the son of our very own legend and character the late John Chute. John Chute wasn't just a talented pigeon fancier, he was also an accomplished and recognized musician playing the bagpipes whenever the opportunity arose. Outside of this John was a family man and the saying the apple doesn't fall far from the tree certainly applies to son Isaac who has now begun the process of following on in his father's footsteps by erecting a loft of his own although on the other side of the Atlantic the story continues with the beginning of a new chapter. I believe Isaac has already begun to acquire new tenants for the required task that lyes ahead and we wish him well with his new adventure. Isaac was home in Cork recently but unfortunately, I didn't get an opportunity to meet him but who knows maybe another time. For now, I would like to wish Isaac and his family well and I'd also like to wish him a speedy recovery after a spell in hospital recently.



Isaac and John Chute



John chute playing the bagpipes



John Chute at his lofts



Coming to the final chapter of this article I would like to introduce to the fancy a gentleman by the name of Finbarr Hennessy. Finbarr is a Native of Youghal in East Cork a hotbed for pigeon racing. In my opinion Youghal is home to some of the greatest fanciers on the island of Ireland. Finbarr's genetics are steeped in pigeon racing and has several relations i.e. his uncles and cousins who are all still busy racing their pigeons and with their fair share of success to their credit. Finbarr now resides in the city where he still plays an active role between convoying pigeon to races and helping out anyone wherever needed. Finbarr also actively helps out his good friends and fellow fanciers Mark and Willie Long on a regular basis. The Long partnership who are also very successful small bird fanciers are always competitive and have been knocking hard on the door for several seasons now and I know it's only a matter of patience and perseverance that will see them have their day in the Sun, we wish them all the very best.



Finbarr Hennessy


On a final note I recently met by chance one of Cork's oldest pigeon fancier's, namely Mr. Gerry O' Neil. Gerry is still actively involved and competes on a regular basis with his pigeons. I would like to personally thank Gerry for his kind words and his appreciation for the Articles that I have completed thus far. You are very welcome indeed. To be continued...........

Alan Busteed