IRISH NATIONAL FLYING CLUB – SKIBBEREEN OLD BIRD NATIONAL by Brendan McLoughlin PO.
The Irish National Flying Club had their first race of the 2012 season when the birds were liberated in Skibbereen on Wednesday 23 May following a one day holdover. Wednesday morning again started off dull and overcast but this cleared as the morning progressed and the birds were released at 12 noon in a light south southeasterly wind. While the winning birds put up high velocities these quickly fell and there were some gaps between pigeons returning.
The race was sponsored by Bamfords Top Flight and we are very grateful to them for their continued sponsorship. The race took on a new format with the introduction of a new middle section for the Skibbereen Nationals only. As such the Ronnie Johnston Challenge Cup and diploma are awarded to the Overall winner and the Gerald Delaney Trophy awarded to the best velocity of the other two sections. The winner of the section with the lowest winning velocity will receive a coveted INFC diploma. There are no Open positions for the Skibbereen Nationals but prizes are allocated to the three sections.
1st North Section: Cromie & Magee, Dromara, Vel 1723 ypm, flying 243 miles, winning £747 and the Ronnie Johnston Challenge Trophy.
The Dromara destroyers strike again, Cromie and Magee and Son win 1st Open, 1st North section. This is the third time in four years that the loft has won the North section and the second time in the same number of years that they have won the National. The wind direction or weather conditions do not seem to matter to this loft as they have the Skibbereen preparation off to perfection.
The partnership is Joe senior and his son Joe, and both work very hard with the birds. Now that Joe junior has retired there could be more fireworks to come. The loft is at Joe senior’s house just west of Ballynahinch and they race with Dromara H.P.S. – a club which is full of top flyers. The bird timed here is a three-year-old blue cock raced on widowhood. Raced as a young-bird on darkness he had the full programme. Again as a yearling all the inland programme and the same as a two-year-old. This year as usual he had all the inland races with very little training and then into Skibbereen. Throughout his career he has been a very consistent racer winning many prizes.
The breeding is Soontjens/ Hoofkens, with the Soontjens coming from the late Lesley Mairs and the Hoofkens from Andrews and Jackson. His Grand sire on the dam’s side was 2nd open with the N.I.P.A, from Rosscarbery and has bred many good birds. In fact two full brothers of ‘Young Joe’ as he is now called were the lofts first two bird from the N.I.P.A, Rosscarbery race taking 8th and 11 section D, 45th, and 54th Open with 6,175 birds competing. The feeding is Marimans French Petite with Multivits in the water once per week.