Homers Odyssey 20/02/23
The 71st Annual General Meeting for Irish National Flying Club will be held in the Lagan Valley Leisure Plex, Lisburn Leisure Park, Governors Road, Lisburn, County Antrim, BT28 1LP on Saturday 4th March 2023 at 2,00pm sharp.
Agenda to include: 1) Apologies, 2) Minutes of last AGM held in 2020, 3) Secretary Reports for 2020, 2021, 2022 seasons, 4) Convoyer’s race reports for 2021 and 2022, 5) Passing of Accounts for 2020 and 2021 (These accounts are in the 2022 race entry form booklet), 6) Election of Officers for 2023.
The proposed race programme for 2023 is as follows. Skibbereen North (Code 6017) Old Bird Tuesday 30th May 2023 marking Monday 29th May, Penzance (Code 4193) Yearling Nat Wednesday 14th June 2023 marking Monday 12th June, St Allouestre (Code 5007) Kings Cup Grand Nat Friday 30th June 2023, marking Tuesday 27th June, Friendship Nat Plougastel-Daoulas (Code 5133)/St Malo (Code 5072) Thursday 6th July 2023 marking Monday 3rd July, Penzance YB Grand Nat Wednesday 6th September 2023 marking Monday 4th September, Skibbereen North Young Bird Saturday 16th September 2023 marking Thursday 14th September. Friendship Nat date is due to shipping.
Accounts 2020 and 2021 – Queries in respect of these accounts should be in the Secretary’s hands in writing or via e-mail at least three days before the AGM. Only queries in writing or by e-mail will be considered at the AGM.
Please note annual subscriptions for 2023.
Existing member £30.00 or Euros 37.50 payable through your club. New member £35.00 or Euros 43.75 payable through your club, Individual member paying direct £40.00 or Euros 50.00, New Individual members paying direct £45.00 or Euros 56.25. Closing date is 12th April 2023.
The Management Committee have decided that no notices for the meeting will be posted in 2023 due to the current situation with the postal delivery service.
Note Single Bird Challenge: Kings Cup 2023 entry is £10.00. Entry forms can be downloaded from the website infcpigeons.co.uk – The deadline is as usual 17th March 2023. Willie Reynolds PO.
The AGM of the RPRA (Irish Region) was held at Christ Church hall in Lisburn on Saturday 4th February 2023 members present included Cormac O’Hare Chairman from Ballyholland, Samuel Briggs President (Lisburn & District), Noel Higginson Secretary & Treasurer (Ballyclare & District), William Knowles (Kingsmoss), Paul Gault (Kingsmoss), Jimmy Burrows (Eastway), Jim Serplus (Laurelvale), Robert Topping (Lisburn & District), Alan Larkin (Blackwatertown) and Gerald Delaney (Dromore).
Apologies from Willie Reynolds, Robin Duddy, Arnold Thompson, Norman Lewai and Robert Turkington.
President Sam Briggs opened the meeting and welcomed the delegates present, he then called on the members to stand and observe a moments silence in respect of past members, family and friends who had passed since our last meeting.
The minutes of the previous AGM were read, and Cormac O’Hare then asked if there were anu matters arising. Nothing was raised and it was proposed by Jimmy Burrows and seconded by Billy Knowles that the minutes be passed as a true record.
Samuel then went through the various RPRA award winners and congratulated them on their success including those who had attended the Night of the Year at the recent Blackpool Show of the Year. Keelie Wright from Lurgan Social won the Intermediate Short Distance 60-250 Miles while Harry Thomas and Joseph Larkin won 2nd in the Young Fancier Short Distance 60-250 Miles with 4th place awarded to Mullen Bros of Edgarstown in Portadown. The seasons Kings Cup winners C McArdle & Sons from Banbridge and racing in Newry City Invitation finished 2nd in the Adult Long Distance.
Keelie Wright collecting award at the Show of the Year in Blackpool.
Winners locally collected their awards at the NIPA Ladies Night held at Rabbit Hotel in Templepatrick last November. They included the following.
Irish Region (RPRA) Awards 2022 - Talbenny & Penzance (Individual Bird performance over two cross channel races).
SECT A – McSeveney & Bradley, Coleraine Premier HPS GB21C-33615, Vel 1290; SECT B – D Dixon, Ballymoney HPS GB20B-24125, Vel 1273; SECT C – D & J Campbell, Eastway GB21E-24939, Vel 1309; SECT D – Barry Murray, Dromara HPS GB20D-20841, Vel 1278; SECT E – R D Calvin, Annaghmore GB19A-28342, Vel 283; SECT F – Robert Shaw, Corrigs GB21C-26674, Vel 1235; SECT G – Ron Williamson, Newry & District NWHU20E-0202, Vel 1297; SECT H – Ken Armstrong, Omagh & District GB20R-01722Vel 1205. Overall winner and the Irish Region Trophy won by D & J Campbell, Eastway GB21E-24939, Vel 1309.
Ladies Night presentation of Meritorious Awards. From (l) Ken Armstrong, Ron Williamson, Jimmy McSeveney, Noel Higginson and Danny Dixon.
“Drumadragh Queen” Sect A Meritorious Award winner raced by McSeveney & Bradley, Coleraine Premier HPS.
Irish Region Mileage Awards 2022
0-250 Miles won by David Calvin, Bondhill Social – Blue Cock GB20L-27841; 251-450 Miles won by C O’Hare &B Daughter, Ballyholland – Blue Hen GB20B-30026: 450 Miles + won by Sean Hughes, Coalisland & District – Blue Hen GB20C-12537.
“Royal Express” NIPA Champion YB of the Year and Best YB Irish Region. Raced by David Calvin of Bondhill Social.
Best Young Bird Performance 2022 – Davy Calvin, Bondhill Social - Red Ch Cock GB22B-29720. Best Old Bird Performance 2022 -Donnelly Bros, Newry City Inv – Blue Ch Hen GB20L-42290. Irish Region Young Fancier of the Year won by H T & J Larkin, Blackwatertown. 2nd Mullen Bros Edgarstown 3rd M Donnelly Newry City Inv
Thomas Larkin collecting award at the Blackpool Show for the H T & J Larkin partnership.
Irish Region Young Fancier Mileage Awards 2022 – Young Fancier 0-250 Miles H T & J Larkin of Blackwatertown – Mealy Hen GB19L-17540. Young Fancier 251-450 Miles won by Mullen Bros of Edgarstown HPS – Blue Ch Hen GB21L-01368.
“El Stranger” raced by Mullen Bros of Edgarstown.
The meeting was informed about two resignations – John Conlane from the Irish Region committee and Willie Reynolds from the INFC committee. Cormac O’Hare declared all offices vacant, and the following were returned to serve for 2023.
President Samuel Brigg proposed by Alan Larkin and Sec by Gerald Delaney that Samuel be re-elected. No other proposals and Samuel duly elected. Chairman Cormac O’Hare proposed by Jim Serplus and Sec by Jimmy Burrows that Cormac be re-elected. No other proposals and Cormac duly elected. Secretary and Treasurer Noel Higginson proposed by Jim Serplus and Sec by William Knowles that Noel be re-elected. No other proposals and Noel duly elected. Vice Presidents re-elected – Mr Gerald Delaney and Mr Cormac O’Hare. Life vice-President following elected. Mr S Briggs, Mr J Seprlus, Mr W Knowles and Mr J Burrows. The above were proposed by Gerald Delaney and Sec by Samuel Briggs all in favour.
RPRA Council Delegates. Proposed by Jim Serplus Sec by William Knowles that Samuel Briggs, Cormac O’Hare, Gerald Delaney and Alan Larkin (reserve) be re-elected and were duly returned by show of hands. Proposed by C O’Hare and Sec by S Briggs that the Irish Region Appeals Committee consist of the entire Irish Region Committee. Proposed by S Briggs and Sec by C O’Hare that Robert Topping be elected to the committee, and this was carried on show of hands.
Irish Region & Appeals Committee, the following were elected. Samuel Briggs, Cormac O’Hare, Noel Higginson, Willie Reynolds, Jim Serplus, Alan Larkin, Gerald Delaney, George Robinson, William Knowles, Robin Service and Robert Topping. John Conlane had resigned.
Nominations for RPRA in the INFC Committee. Proposed by Alan Larkin and Sec by William Knowles that Richard McCracken, Gary Donaldson, and Nigel Gordon be elected to this committee. The committee is as follows with the addition of the above. Paul Dunlop, Cormac O’Hare, Jim Serplus, Robin Duddy, Arnold Thompson, Eddie McGimpsey, Norman Lewis, Alan Larkin, Garry Simmons, robin Service, Robert Turkington, and Carson Lyons. Willie Reynolds had resigned. INFC Appeals Committee it was proposed by C O’Hare and Sec by A Larkin that Gerald Delaney be elected on to this committee. The committee is as follows Gerald Delaney, William Knowles, and Jimmy Burrows Irish Region Press Officer. Proposed by William Knowles and Sec by Alan Larkin that Willie Reynolds be re-elected. Carried by a show of hands. Willie was thanked for his continuous hard work and the excellent coverage he gives the sport.
The meeting was informed about applications from clubs for membership. Downpatrick and South Belfast had been accepted and if no objections before 16th February Bangor RPC will be added. Wheatfield had been dissolved.
Cormac informed the meeting that Irish Region officials himself S Briggs, N Higginson and G Delaney attended a meeting held in Ballymac Hotel on 1st February at 2.00pm to consider the various proposals coming up at the RPRA Annual Meeting to be held at the Leonardo Hotel (East Midlands Airport) Castle Donington Derby DE74 2SH on Friday 24th February 2023 (09.00am).
The list was discussed at Irish Region meeting and the voting arrangements are as follows: For 23/1. 23/2, 23/3, 23/7, 23/14, 23/17, and 23/19. Against 23/4, 23/5. 23/6, 23/9, 23/10, 23/11, 23/12, 23/13, 23/15, 23/16, 23/18 and 23/20. 23/8 will be out of order.
The Secretary Noel Higginson informed the meeting that due to the death of Ron McKelvey that we had to find a new Accountant. The accounts were not at hand but the hope was to have them in the next couple of weeks. A brief look at the latest figures indicated we were in a healthy position. He also informed the meeting that the total of affiliated members were down slightly on numbers in 2021. Cormac asked for Any Other Business, there were none and the meeting was closed.
Racing in Section D of the Nipa the Lisburn & District Club 2022 Old Bird season got underway from Tullamore on 16th April with a good entry of 301 pigeons. A fair bit of South in the wind saw the winner, a 3 year old Blue Cock, drop to the Causeway End Road lofts of Trevor and Robert Topping making a velocity of 1910. This Cock was 2nd Club from the opening race in 2021 , again from Tullamore. Samuel Briggs finished runner up on 1880 with the Topping's second pigeon third , 4th Spence Bros 5th G Smyth 6th Topping & Son.
Gary Smyth highest prize-winner in the big Lisburn & District HPS
With the birdage increasing to 417 birds the Roscrea race on 23rd April was a steadier affair with Samuel Briggs's Yearling Blue Cheq. Hen improving on it's 2nd place the previous week to win this one on 1259. Runner up was R Topping & Son with G Smyth third, 4th L Magee & Sons 5th G Smyth 6th A,T & J Houston.
Birdage increased significantly for the Gowran Park race on 29th of April as 576 birds faced the 138 mile flight back to Lisburn, with Billy Joss's Yearling Blue Hen winning on 1547, some 8 yards clear of Spence Bros in 2nd, and Samuel Briggs once again in the top 3 in 3rd position. 4th W Joss 5th R Topping & Son 6th Spence Bros.
Fermoy on 7th May had an entry of 587 pigeons racing almost 50 miles further than the previous week at 185 miles. This time Gary Smyth's Blue WF Hen took the red card on 1530, also finishing 3rd with his second bird. R Topping & Son had a good race finishing 2nd,4th and 6th with Samuel Briggs 5th.
Corrin on 14th May saw the Club's birdage reach it's maximum for the 2022 season at 619 birds. It takes a good pigeon to lead home an entry that size, and Samuel Briggs has such a pigeon as his Blue Cheq Hen swept on to his Benson Street loft doing 1672 ypm, being 24yards in front of the runner up, race distance 191 miles. This is the same hen that was 2nd Tullamore and 1st Roscrea a few weeks earlier in the season. Add to that 2nd Club ( beaten by 2 seconds by a loft mate) 5th North Section, 11th Open INFC Skibbereen Inland National on Wed 1st June and you will realise Samuel has a great pigeon in his loft. Trevor & Robert Topping had a very good Corrin race taking 2nd,3rd,5th and 6th with Gary Smyth 5th.
21st May and we had the Nipa Skibbereen Inland National with R Topping & Son's Yearling Blue Cheq being best in the Lisburn Club vel. 1880, 2nd G Smyth, 3rd A,T & J Houston, 4th S Briggs, 5th D Ferguson, 6th S Briggs. 120 birds in that race.
The same day we saw Gowran Park (2) with 265 pigeons entered, and again the Topping loft took top spot with a 2 year old Blue Cheq Cock doing 1719 being well clear of the runner up G Smyth, Davy Ferguson being 3rd and 4th, W Joss 5th and Topping & Son 6th.
28th May and the first Channel race of the season had 280 pigeons racing from Talbenny with the winner Gary Smyth's Yearling Blue Cock making a velocity of 1223, indicating a good steady race. H McKin & Son finished 2nd on 1219 with S Briggs .2 of a yard behind, Samuel also being 4th and 6th with Topping & Son 5th.
INFC Skibbereen Inland OB National took place on 1st June with Samuel Briggs taking 1st,2nd,4th, 6th in the Club. Jack Magee was 3rd and Davy Ferguson 5th.
4th June Talbenny (2) had an entry of 275 birds and in was a case of deja vu as the same Blue Cock won it for Gary Smyth on a hard day doing 1133, some 25 yards clear of S Briggs in 2nd spot. Gary's second pigeon was 3rd as Samuel put 2 more in the top 6 taking 4th and 6th, with Smyth & Adams 5th.
The Fermoy 5 Bird Race also took place on 4th with R Topping & Son being 1st,2nd,3rd and 6th, 4th Spence Bros, 5th H Mackin & Son.
Bude on 12th June had 118 birds facing the 265 mile journey to Lisburn and Alan Houston's 3 year old Dark Cheq Cock won this one on 1242. Samuel Briggs 2nd,3rd and 6th with Gary Smyth 4th and 5th.
The NIPA also held their Skibbereen Yearling National on the 12th and a helping wind saw Samuel Briggs top the Club result on 1730, with R Topping & Son 2nd,4th and 6th. Gary Smyth finished 3rd and Samuel's second pigeon 5th.
The INFC Sennen Cove Yearling National took place on 15th June and in a hard race only 2 Lisburn pigeons made home on the day. Alan Houston was best clocking at 4.13 pm, with Gary Benson 2nd at 5.50pm. Second day birds were 3rd L Magee & Sons, 4th and 5th Gary Benson, 6th Billy Joss.
16 members sent 167 birds to Penzance on 17th June and Trevor and Robert Topping took 1st and 2nd well clear of L Magee & Sons in 3rd. Alan Houston was 4th with the Toppings 5th and Jackie Waring 6th.
In the Penzance Classic the Club result was 1st,2nd 4th R Topping & Son, 3rd and 6th L Magee & Sons, 5 S Briggs.
A comeback Fermoy race the same day saw R Topping & Son take 1st,5th,6th, with Spence Bros 2nd 3rd and 4th.
The St Malo Old Bird National on 23rd June had no day birds in the Lisburn Club with Ian Donaghy clocking not only the club winner but Section D winner 17th Open at 07.36am the second morning vel 665 ypm. Two other Lisburn pigeons were clocked on the third day with Trevor and Robert Topping being 2nd on 303 ypm and Samuel Briggs 3rd on 284 ypm.
Ian Donaghy holding 1st Section D NIPA St Malo National
The INFC Kings Cup race from St Allouestre on 1st July had no Lisburn pigeons on the day, but just before 7.30am the second morning Jackie Waring clocked 2 pigeons within a minute to be 1st and 2nd Club. Michael O'Reilly was in at 8.17am for 3rd and Gary Benson 8 minutes later for 4th. Alan Houston was 5th at 10.39am and 6th went to Gary Benson's second pigeon. Jackie Waring and Trevor & Robert Topping clocked later in the day for a total of 8 Lisburn pigeons timed in the race.
Jackie Waring with one of his Kings Cup pigeons
Final Old Bird race of the season was INFC Friendship National ST Malo on 8th July. Four Lisburn pigeons were clocked in the race 1st being Michael O'Reilly at 8.53am second morning, followed by Gary Benson at 12.56. Michael also clocked a second bird for 3rd Club with Ian Donaghy 4th. The Club winner's arrival was missed by Michael and he looked out to see the bird walking around in the garden and finished 28th Open in the race. I'm pleased to say it was one of a pair of YBs I exchanged with Michael in 2019.
Michael O'Reilly holding 28th Open INFC Friendship National
The Young Bird Season started on 16th July with 248 entries released in Kilbeggan, a new race point for the NIPA. As in the first Old Bird race the winners were Trevor & Robert Topping velocity 1511 well clear of the field. 2nd L Magee & Sons, 3rd D Ferguson, 4th G Smyth, 5th and 6th Smyth & Adams.
Kilbeggan (2) had an entry of 330 ybs and was won by Gary Smyth on 1475 who was also 3rd and 4th. Hugh Dalzell was 2nd with D Ferguson 5th and Smyth & Adams 6th.
Tullamore on 29th July with 353 pigeons entered was dominated by two lofts Gary Smyth again in 1st place also taking 4th. Trevor and Robert Topping filled the remaining top six places in 2nd ,3rd,5th ,6th.
From Roscrea on 6th August the entry of 388 birds was the highest during the YB Season ,the race being won over in Hill Street by Alan Houston. Smyth & Adams were 2nd and 3rd Topping & Son 4th Hugh Dalzell 5th Jack Magee 6th.
Gowran Park on 13th August saw Gary Smyth win his third YB race also being 5th, Topping & Son were 2nd,3rd,4th, with Smyth & Adams 6th, 326 birds sent.
No stopping that man Smyth as he again topped the result from Fermoy on 19th August. The first six birds home exceeded 1960 ypm in this one with 255 pigeons entered as Trevor & Robert Topping finished 2nd,3rd,4th for a second week. Samuel Briggs was 5th and Gary's second bird 6th.
In the 5 Bird race the Toppings were 1st,2nd,3rd, Hugh Dalzell 4th, S Briggs 5th, D Ferguson 6th.
Nipa Talbenny YB National was flown on 27th August with Smyth & Adams taking 1st,2nd and 6th in the Lisburn Club with the winning pigeon the only one to break 1200ypm, so it wasn’t an easy race by any means. Samuel Briggs was 3rd and 5th, Topping & Son 4th.
Roscrea flown on the same day attracted an entry of 246 birds with Spence Bros 1st,3rd,4th and Gary Smyth 2nd,5th,6th. Close one this with the Spence Mealy Cock on 1590.7 to Gary's Blue Cock 1590.3.
Fermoy on 1st September had an entry of 167 birds and was won by Trevor & Robert Topping who also took 3rd and 5th. Hugh Dalzell was 2nd and 4th with Jack Magee in 6th.
Infc Penzance YB National was flown on 10th September, a 305 mile fly to Lisburn with a large part of that being over water. Liberated at 08.02am only Samuel Briggs in the Lisburn Club clocked a bird on the day when his first arrival dropped on the loft at 6.38pm velocity 842 ypm. That's a game young pigeon over 10 1/2 hours on the wing. This was his first arrival with his second in the clock at 8.44 am the second morning, these being the only pigeons recorded in the Club from the race.
The Nipa Skibbereen YB National was also flown on the 10th with the Briggs loft being 1st,2nd and 3rd Club, R Topping & Son 4th...G Smyth 5th...D Ferguson 6th.
Infc Skibbereen National was the last race of the 2022 season and it turned out a hard one with Samuel Briggs taking 1st,2nd,3rd in the Lisburn Club ,velocities 1110...968...857ypm. Davy Ferguson was 4th S & W English 5th and R Topping & Son 6th
Average winners were as follows....Inland Old Bird Average...1st R Topping & Son 1612.0 ...Runner up....S G Briggs 1611.5. Cross Channel Average...1st...S G Briggs 1193.8...Runner up...R Topping & Son 1192.8. Combined Old Bird Average...1st S G Briggs 1375.8...Runner up...R Topping & Son 1375.5. Young Bird Average...1st R Topping & Son 1543.9...Runner up ...G Smyth. 1519.1 Combined all Old Bird an Young Bird races...1st R Topping & Son...Runner up...L Magee & Sons.
Top Prize winners...1st.G Smyth...2nd.R Topping & Son...3rd. S G Briggs.
Skibbereen Old Bird National. Samuel Briggs had a great race in the first National of the year finishing 4th & 5th North Section 10th, 11th & 145th Open, with Jack Magee 110th Open and Davy Ferguson 154th Open.
Sennen Cove Yearling National. Alan Houston was best in Lisburn at 41st North Section 69th Open with Gary Benson putting 3 birds in the Open prizes taking 117th,260th,291st. Jack Magee took 257th Open in a very hard race.
Kings Cup St Allouestre. Jackie Waring was best in this one taking 101st & 102nd North Section 139 & 140th Open. These two birds were timed within a minute of each other around 7.30am on the second morning. With a lot of pigeons home on the first day Jackie didn’t rise too early the following morning and found the two pigeons home when he got to the loft. Michael O'Reilly finished 120th Section 160th Open closely followed by Gary Benson 122nd Section 162nd Open, with Alan Houston 168th Section 215th Open.
Friendship National St Malo. Michael O'Reilly throughout the years has been a man who can clock a good one from France and he put two birds in the clock in this race. His first one took 28th Open after the bird was found walking around the garden and took 79th with his second pigeon. Gary Benson finished 39th Open and Ian Donaghy 83rd Open.
Penzance YB National. Samuel Briggs was the only Lisburn member to clock in this one finishing 82nd & 137th North Section 94th & 164th Open.
Skibbereen YB National. Again, Samuel was the only Lisburn member to appear on the prize list being 58th North Section.
The Club held a series of Shows in November and their Annual Christmas Show in December.
Any Age Cocks. 1 S & W English..2 R Topping & Son..3 Smyth & Adams..4 Smyth & Adams.
Any Age Hens. 1 R Topping & Son..2 G Smyth..3 G Smyth..4 A Hughes & Son.
Judges B & J Smith
Old Cocks. 1 Smyth & Adams..2 S & W English..3 Smyth & Adams..4 G Smyth.
Old Hens 1 R Topping & Son..2 R Topping & Son..3 Smyth & Adams..4 G Smyth
Judges J & E Gregory
Young Cocks. 1 W Alister & Son..2 A,T & J Houston..3 W Joss..4 W Joss
Young Hens 1 M Mairs..2 A Hughes & Son..3 A Hughes & Son..4 R Topping & Son
Judges D & K Johnston
Any Age Pairs 1 A T & J Houston..2 A T & J Houston..3 W Joss.. 4 H Dalzell.
Colours 1 R Topping & Son..2 Smyth & Adams..3 W Joss..4 A T & J Houston
Judges F McShane & P Frazer
Christmas Show 125 Pigeons
Handled 1 R Topping & Son..2 W Joss..3 + 4+ Res R Topping & Son..VHC. I Donaghy..HC. G Smyth..C. L Magee & Sons
Eye Sign 1 A T & J Houston..2 R Topping & Son..3 + 4 Smyth & Adams..Res M Mairs..VHC G Smyth..HC A T & J Houston..C R Topping & Son.
Trrough the Wires 1 + 2 + 3 + Res + HC R Topping & Son..4 A Hughes & Son..VHC M Mairs..C Smyth & Adams.
Judges Gregory McEvoy..David Mawhinney..Eamon Lynch.
Many thanks to the Judges for all the Shows and to all who supplied prizes and refreshments at the Christmas Show.
Finally a word about Club Members Gary Benson and Robert Kirkwood who both have been in hospital lately and are now recovering at home. All at the Club wish them well on their way to back to full fitness. Milne Mairs PO Lisburn & District HPS.
Willie Reynolds – NIPA & INFC Press Officer
Tel/Fax: (028) 256 44683
Mobile: 07538 238364
Twitter: willie reynolds@homerbhw>