RP Column 06/12/13
A fortnight ago I had to make a journey to Ligoniel in North Belfast, and on my way reflected on the various loft visits I made many years ago in the same area, the brilliant Harry Granville who flew many great pigeons and across the channel he was in the first division. Stewart Bros just up the road from Harry had at that time a great team of Bob Harkness pigeons. Tommy Stewart played football for Linfield and Ireland, and was a top class winger. After the death of Tommy I sold his pigeons at auction and they were in great demand.
The reason for being in Ligoniel was to visit the loft of McClurkin & McCoubrey who enjoyed a fabulous YB Season. These two fanciers have flown individually before in Ligoniel and Dessie McClurkin has won right to France. The birds are at John McCoubrey’s home at present and these two fanciers are very fortunate in that Dessie’s wife and John’s are keenly interested in the birds and Dessie was telling me that birds are flown in the girl’s name – smart move boys!!
They race in one of the strongest , NIPA Sections, the East Antrim Section C. The YB’s started mid-July and the opening two races were Area Liberations. McClurkin & McCoubrey won 1st Club 372 birds and 1st Open 1,416 birds. Tullamore was next up – 4th, 8th & 13th Club and 5th, 12th, & 27th Open 2,406 birds. Tullamore (2) – 2nd, 3rd, 4th & 7th Club 655 birds; 5th, 6th, 7th & 14th Sect 4,578 birds; 8th, 9th, 10th & 21st Open 21,284 birds. Roscrea – 3rd, 15th & 17th Club 650 birds; 22nd Sect 4,577 birds; 103rd Open 24,557 birds. Clonmel – 1st & 2nd Club 511 birds; 2nd & 3rd Sect 4,079 birds; 9th & 17th Open 21,269 birds. Fermoy 2nd, 4th & 6th Club 417 birds; 7th, 15th & 35th Sect 3,399 birds; 46th& 66th Open 19,390 birds. Talbenny YB Nat – 2nd, 9th & 13th Club; 5th & 49th Sect 745 birds; 37th Open 3,585 birds. Tullamore – 3rd, 4th, 6th & 10th Club; 106th, 114th, 128th & 143rd Open 7,858 birds. Mallow – 1st, 7th, 9th, 10th & 11th Club 316 birds; 7th, 8th & 44th Open 10,659 birds. Mallow 5 Bird Championship – 8th, 11th, 12th & 13th Sect; 44th, 59th, 69th & 70th Open 1,364 birds. Rosscarbery YB Nat – 1st Club; 5th Sect 818 birds; and 28th Open 3,655 birds.
I think you will agree a truly remarkable year for this partnership and they won the YB Average in Ligoniel & District and Young Bird Fancier of the Year in the NIPA Section C. Brilliant!!
The YB’s were flown on Darkness, they are kept together and allowed to pair if they so wish. Three weeks before racing they are trained up to 30 miles and then twice a week weather permitting to Dromore, about 20 miles to the loft. Feeding is always Gem from Robert Kirkwood. Dessie has been a good friend of the Angel Bros and Maurice Dann has sent him some good ones. Dickie Smyth has also helped the boys and they thank him very much. Dessie and John will soon be putting plans into action for the 2014 season and I predict a bright future for this young partnership. Irish Rover.