Success For P & J Boal
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Success is starting to spiral out of control for the Northern Ireland
based partnership of Philip and Joe Boal flying with the Dromore HPS within
Section D of the mighty NIPA. At the start of the 05’ O/Bird season
I paid this loft a visit to report on a pigeon that had won the Section
from Mullingar, in the article I quoted this loft would win more Sections
and true to my word another 3 x Section wins followed in 2005.
Just to give a break down to fellow fanciers who are not familiar with
the magnitude of the NIPA. Set up in 1945 the Northern Ireland Provincial
Amalgamation of Racing Pigeon Societies currently incorporates 98 Clubs
from the whole of Northern Ireland , these clubs within a radius are then
Sectioned of into eight groups forming as we call them Section A, Section
A West, Section B, Section C, Section D, Section E, Section F and Section
G. So come race day your looking to win your Club, hoping your arrival
is good enough to win your Section (up to 4,000+ Birds) and then the best
Section winner wins the Open (up to 33,000 + Birds). Very Strong competition
As mentioned above Philip and Joe race with Section D approx. 300 + members
sending upwards of 3,000 pigeons per week.
The brothers have been in pigeons for some time now but only started to
take them seriously again in 1999. Philip set about trying without success
to form a team capable to compete against the best in the NIPA which is
no easy task. Philip had in his head a type of pigeon he was looking for
but after search upon search he couldn’t find the perfect article.
Telling this story to fellow Dromore fancier Gerald Delaney, Gerald had
no hesitation inviting Philip to the continent the next time he was going
to see if he would see anything there. A trip to Belgium in January 2002
was to be the turning point for Philip and the Boal partnership. (By Chance
I Might Add)
In recent years many pigeons have been bought in Belgium or different
strains have been imported and have made some impact in different areas
of the U.K. A minefield if you don’t know what your doing or have
little contacts or even worse can’t speak the lingo. The latter
all applied to Philip as this was to be his first visit so you can guess
he delight when he was introduced upon arrival to Walter Verbinnen a pigeon
man himself as well as a member of the Belgian Drug Enforcement Team but
more importantly could speak very good English. (I have also been assured
that Walter is willing to help any visitors wishing to seek out good pigeons
in Belgium his Tele No. 0032494935943).
To cut to the chase as the saying goes, after a few planned loft visits
and sore feet with no success, Philip started to think this visit was
to end without success until they stumbled across the lofts of Willy Van
Herck on the way back to the hotel. Willy has an impeccable loft profile
in the town of Retie his local Club has an eighty strong membership, so
its some achievement for Willy to be top prize winner on eleven occasions
including 2005, runner-up nine times and third twice all in the last 21
years and with performances like that comes good pigeons including many
KBDB Ace Pigeons.
( I will point out that due to Willy always keeping a small amount of
pigeons this is why no loft visit was planned for)
Philip was stunned to say the least, the sheer beauty and quality of the
pigeons he had never seen the like of before, negotiations were soon in
flow and it wasn’t long before he was leaving Willy’s with
four late breds 2x cocks and 2 x hens.
On arrival home and further studying of his new imports Philip was sure
they were better than anything currently in the stock loft and went about
making a stream of phone calls in order to obtain a further 10 youngsters
from Willy Van Herck‘s best.
They arrived on the 10th of June 2002, so impressed was Philip armed with
the ring numbers of the parents was at Willy’s house within two
days. A day of long debate and negotiation seen a deal reached that was
to allow Philip to leave Willy Van Herck’s with his best five pair
of stock birds. A vast amount of money changed hands to secure the deal.
On a subsequent visit by Philip in January 2003 Willy had purchased himself
a new car and as quoted himself called it ’Philip’.
Philip up until this article
has been to Van Herck’s loft on nine occasions each time purchasing
pigeons. He can now claim to have in the Co.Down lofts the very best
of Willy Van Herck, only last year Philip had to breed six Van Herck
pigeons to go back to Belgium need I say any more !!
With 68 pigeons in the stock lofts of Van Herck breeding these are accompanied
with a few from Van Der Veken and Van Leest Peeters.. These Van Herck
pigeons are already doing the business for the partnership including
cross channel success in only two full seasons of breeding. The Jos
Van Der Veken are also showing encouraging signs as are the Van Leest
Peeters pigeons which have been added to the stock lofts as an extra
dimension for the French races.
Stock Birds are normally mated around the end of December with Y/B’s
hatching late January, they are of course treated for everything prior
to pairing. Philip is a big user of the German Rohnfried Products and
the use of these along with the Vanrobaeys Corn is down to much of his
success, on this note he would like to thank John White for his continued
help and endeavour to make available some of the best products currently
on the market today.
The Stock birds for most of the year, up until one week before eggs
hatching are fed Barley with 5% seeds this will then change to Vanrobaeys
Breeding Supreme until the breeding season is over.
Widowhood is the system for the O/Birds with just the cocks being raced,
normally numbers around the 30 mark although with a good number of sound
Y/Bird Cocks left this year an extension has been added to allow for
another 12 boxes for the coming O/Bird programme.
The system is very much geared around Philip’s working life as
the lofts are situated at his family home and with the pressure’s
associated with his job (site foreman in the building game) it most
mornings requires a very early start, so with this in mind you will
see Philips widowers out at 6.00am most mornings weather permitted and
back out again at 6.00pm both for one hour exercises.
Feeding is again Vanrobaeys Widowhood , no minerals are present in the
widowhood loft and treatment is a must every month for cocci, salmonella
or respiratory giving the treatments in turn. Paired at the start of
January they will rear one youngster normally switched from the stock
loft, they will then be split once the second round is laid approx 10
days after, it is then that the Widowhood system starts with training
in full progress.
Y/B racing is Natural no darkness practised at all, this Philip puts
down as one of the reasons why he has yet to experience Y/B Sickness,
he did elaborate to say unless buying a new loft that is made specifically
for darkness it is very hard to darken and old loft without affecting
the flow of fresh air to enter and exit accordingly. All tossing is
carried out by Philip himself and most seasons this entails catching
around 100 youngsters on a daily basis.
They are tossed as a unit approx. 4 to 5 weeks before the first race
starting with 10 x tosses from 15 miles, followed by a 20 mile toss
x 5 times, then they will be expected to fly 25 miles on three occasions
before resuming back to 20 miles where they will then be released in
batches of 8 at a time as the days progress they will eventually be
tossed in teams of three, a very time consuming way to toss, but Philip
feels this is a fantastic education for them and it weans out the rubbish
before you start spending money racing them. They will only be tossed
up until the 2nd race after this they will fly around the house one
hour in the morning and evening.
Versa Lega Gerry
Plus is the measured feeding, along with Aviform Ultimate in the water
2 to 3 days a week, Natural Line Products are also used during the Y/B
season. Treatment is slightly different in that they will receive a
3 in 1 treatment all at once for cocci, salmonella and respiratory,
this requires the birds to be loft bound for a minimum of 5 days. Vaccination
is normally administered around the 30 day mark. The young birds are
not encouraged to mate up and are trapped via an open door.
I will now list some of the positions won that I have at hand since
2004 :-P & J Boal of Dromore WE won 7 x 1st Clubs and 7 x 2nd Clubs
and won the following positions racing within Section D and competing
for the Open in the mighty NIPA in 2004. Old Birds. Mullingar - 6th
Sect D & 53rd Open NIPA 1,012/15,469 vel 1221. Kilkenny (2) –
44th Sect D 150/3,106 vel 1884. Tramore (1) – 29th Sect D 149/3,220
vel 1380. Tramore (2) – 3rd Sect D & 44th Open NIPA 1,390/28,463
vel 1343. Talbenny (1) – 8th & 10th Sect B and 129th &
131st Open NIPA 1,289/17,358 vel 1305. Tramore (3) – 13th Sect
D & 129th Open NIPA 532/6,465 vel 1860. Rosscarbery - 8th &
9th Sect D and 46th & 51st Open NIPA 1,179/14,575 vel 1378. Mallow
- 11th & 13th Sect D and 42nd & 46th Open NIPA 623/2,625 vel
1342. Sennen Cove – 32nd & 36th Sect D 112/1,100 vel 907.
Sennen Cove Classic 166th & 217th Open NIPA 563/3,295. Young Birds.
Tullamore (3) – 2nd, 18th & 24th Sect D and 23rd & 150th
Open NIPA 1,281/33,096 vel 1472. Kilkenny (1) – 14th Sect D 131/3,384
vel 1688. Kilkenny (2) – 27th & 33rd Sect D 134th & 151st
Open NIPA 1,233/28,526 vel 1533. Tramore (1) – 16th, 21st &
23rd Sect D and 56th, 82nd 89th Open NIPA 1,198/25,172 vel 1433. Talbenny
Nat – 2nd, 10th & 16th Sect D and 58th, 153rd & 199th
Open NIPA 771/4,865 vel 1336. Mallow 8th & 24th Sect D and 37th
& 98th Open NIPA 911/15,137 vel 1716. Rosscarbery Nat – 7th
Sect D and 36th & 181st Open NIPA 725/5,942 vel 2124.
2005 Season :- Mullingar 1st, 4th, 5th, 9th & 12th Club, 208 birds,
1st, 22nd & 27th Section 92 members sent 1315 birds, 19th, 115th
& 132nd Open 885 members sent 13,081 Birds Vel 1693; Kilkenny (2)
1st, 2nd, 4th & 6th Club 373 Birds, 3rd, 4th, 8th & 16th Section
D 143/2769, 117th, 136th & 158th Open 1277/26,120 Vel 1399; Pilmore
Beach 12th, 27th & 31st Section 148/3027, 78th and 152nd Open 1312/25,641
Vel 1315; Rosscarbery Inland National 5th and 6th Section 95/967, 29th
and 36th Open 989/8737 Vel 1153, 1150; Talbenny (1) 28th Section 128/1774
Vel 1741; Rosscarbery 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 8th, 9th and 10th Club, 8th &
10th Section D 123/1797; 41st & 47th Open 1103/13,082 Vel 1653 and
1651; Mallow Five Bird 2nd Section 58/258, 8th Open 650/2884 Vel 1276;
1st Club Dromore High Flyer winning £200; Sennen Cove 12th Section
116/1091, 107th Open 976/7436 Vel 1546; Sennen Cove Classic 7th Section,
71st Open Vel 1546; Young Birds :- Navan 3rd, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th
and 13th Club 373 Birds, 8th, 17th, 30th and 34th Open 200/4760 Vel
1252; Tullamore (1) 2nd, 7th, 10th and 12th Club, 3rd and 40th Section
111/2842, 9th Open 1137/27,772 Vel 1091; Tullamore (2) 4th, 5th, 6th,
7th and 8th Club 338 Birds, 32nd Section 107/2122, 136th Open 1022/18,282
Birds Vel 1424; Thurles (1) 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th Club 376
Birds, 4th, 12th, 17th, 23rd, 26th and 31st Section D 118/2613, 9th,
20th, 45th, 53rd, 75th and 87th Open 1128/22,319 Vel 1513; Thurles (2)
1st, 9th, 10th, 12th and 14th Club 392 Birds, 1st, 32nd, 36th and 45th
Section D 121/2517, 4th and 162nd Open 1111/21,907 Vel 1421; Thurles
27/08/05 - 10th, 11th, 15th, 17th and 22nd Section 2079 Birds, 42nd,
49th, 64th, 71st and 83rd Open 2079/16,574; Thurles (3) 1st Club 170
Birds, 1st Section 55/668, 3rd Open 453/5157 Birds Vel 1620; Tullamore
(3) 1st, 13th, 16th and 17th Section D 67/1340, 44th , 110th, 124th
and 126th Open 489/8338 Birds Vel 1599; Rosscarbery Y/B National 19th
Section D 679 Birds, 193rd Open 679/6011 Birds Vel 1018.
Taking some time out over coffee I asked Philip what his thoughts were
about the sport in general and whether it had a future. “ Pigeon
Racing is in decline mostly due to the costs associated with it, including
the set up and the purchase of virgin stock. Some change from years
gone by when we used to catch street pigeons and search old warehouses
and disused factories to get pigeons and would have kept them in Gallagher’s
box at the bottom of the garden. At that time should you have sought
to build a wee loft you would have received more help and support than
you needed as for gift birds, that’s exactly what they were and
you were always guaranteed the best of any fancier.
Childishness in pigeon circles is growing at an alarming rate, Philip
states people who are winning are doing nothing different to the people
who are not winning the only difference being they are putting the work
in, you can not sit and expect your birds to do it all themselves and
then when your beat, dislike and start whispers about the people who
are beating you, a pigeon man is a pigeon man we are no different from
each other we all love them but you will not win without work, that
is all that is required as the general quality of birds about today
are all very similar.
His biggest admiration in the sport goes no further than Alan Darragh
4 x 1st National, as an all round fancier you won’t get better
in all Ireland. (of my last four loft profiles 3 of them have admired
this man’s racing achievements.)
Admiration is also extended to the many pigeon fanciers up and down
the country from the floor brusher to clock setters and generally everybody
who works to keep a lot of the small and elderly membership clubs going,
these are normally the people who get all the abuse but quite frankly
most clubs couldn’t survive without these dedicated people.
As for his biggest delight to date he answered quick “getting
up in the morning for them and being with them is a daily delight”
Biggest disappointment - That his father Eddie is not around to see
these fine pigeons in display, Philip went onto explain that many a
Saturday his father would have come down to the garden to watch with
him for the birds arrival, many Saturdays they seen hundreds and hundreds
of pigeons going over but none for the Boal brothers which often got
a question from their old man ( What kind of pigeons have you got ?).
At this point after talking so much about Philip I should also stress
that Joe is also heavily involved in the set up a better judge of a
pigeon Philip hates to admit. Electrical contractor by trade Joe like
many other unfortunate fanciers has pigeon lung and is unable to enter
the lofts, but has invested a vast sum of money into this new era at
the Boal lofts and is a permanent part of the garden furniture on a
What Philip and Joe Boal have done is very courageous but at the same
time amazing, going to another country, talking an amazing small team
fancier Willy Van Herck (which he is) into selling his prized stock
birds including his Ace Pigeons their mothers and fathers, brothers
and sisters. Bringing them all back to Northern Ireland and creating
an in-line bred winning family in less than two seasons.
I have handled most of these pigeons you can take it from me in another
one or two seasons for the people who haven’t heard of P &
J Boal and their amazing family of Van Herck pigeons BEWARE !
Philip and Joe's new website is being created and should be available
to all viewers this coming week, so drop by and take a look at his new
site and a lot more information on their birds.
Leest Peeters and son Paul with Philip Boal (R) at the lofts
in Nijlen. They are holding the Golden Duif Champion of All
Antwerp Trophy 2003 and the Silver Duif for runner-up to the
above in 2002.
Boal pictured with Van Leest Peeters and son Paul along with
the KBDB Trophy for Champion of all Belgium.
Van Herck (L) pictured with Jos Van Der Veken legends of the
sport in Belgium.
spacious lofts of P & J Boal Northern Ireland
of the alarmed stock lofts with fitted aviary of P & J