INFC Quimper – The final old bird race for the INFC was the Friendship Nat flown from Quimper. The birds were liberated at 6.15am wind Lt NE and it was to prove a very difficult race. The entry was excellent, 1,108 birds competed but at the end of three days only 89 pigeons were recorded. The Friendship Cup will not be moving too far having been won in 2012 by A McAteer & Sons of Ballyholland. Aiden made a good effort to retain the trophy finishing 13th Open, but it was the Newry partnership of Malachy Maguire & Son who won the race for the second time. In 2009 the M Maguire & Son loft was 1st & 2nd Open and went on to win the National Championship. The age break-down of the prize winning birds, yearlings 27, 2yo 39, 4yo 11, 5yo 6, and 6yo. The oldest pigeon was an 8yo clocked by Kevin Carolan of Coalisland & District winning 6th Open INFC. The race for the National Champion will now be determined by the two YB Nationals in September. The Irvine Cup is for the Best Ave Kings Cup & Friendship Nat both flown from France and this year we have an outstanding winner in Maurice Wilkinson of Wilton Cross in Lurgan – 8th Open Kings Cup and 4th Open Friendship Nat. Maurice, winner of the Kings Cup in 2005 has enjoyed a brilliant season and is a major contender for the Nat Champion award. The INFC are always looking for ways to honour its top pigeons , I know a 1st Nat winner is the ultimate prize but the INFC is very conscious of the many great pigeons that score more than once from a National Race. The Gold Medal for the Kings Cup has been in the programme for some 30 years and yet only 12 have been won in that time. To win a gold Medal a pigeon must be four times an Open prize-winner from the Kings Cup. The second of the INFC French Nationals is the Friendship Nat and we have for the first time a pigeon an Open prize-winner four timed, bred and raced by one of Ireland’s great Nat Flyers Paul Dunlop of Edgarstown. Bred in 2008 this pigeon has won 2010 – 51st Open, 2011 – 11th Open, 2012 – 11th Open, 2013 – 30th. For these performances Paul’s pigeon will receive the new Silver Medal at the INFC Dinner in November.
James Maguire – The pigeon fancy in Ireland will be sad to hear that “Jamsey” as he was better known passed away recently after a long illness. He competed with the strongest club in the Ulster Federation Grosvenor HPS. I visited his loft several times after another top success but the best was to come this year while he was in hospital winning 1st Club, 1st Ulster Fed, 19th Open INFC Kings Cup collecting the Ulster Federation Cup. I was delighted when Paul McCarthy of the Grosvenor HPS contacted me to see when the Nat Dinner would be held and how many places at the table. It will be a wonderful tribute to his memory when the Maguire Family collect “Jamsey’s National Cup. My sincere condolences to Mrs Maguire and her family circle at this very sad time.
INFC Triple award Diploma – The Triple Award Diploma for a pigeon three times an Open prize-winner in the Friendship Nat race was as I had mentioned earlier flown from Quimper. I am delighted that four have been claimed and look at the class of fancier winning them. Gerry O’Reilly & Sons, Joe Doheny, N Black & Sons all former Kings Cup winners and Tom Marshall & Son 2nd Open Kings Cup. Congratulations to Joe Doheny of Malahide & District double Kings Cup winner, who won this Friendship Nat in 2011 and has sent her back in 2012 to win 51st Open and then in 2013 to win 19th Open and the Triple Award Diploma. The 2012 Kings Cup winner Gerry O’Reilly of Malahide & Dist wins his Diploma with the following performances: 2011 – 36th Open, 2012 – 93rd Open, 2013 – 62nd Open. The Nat Champions for the past two seasons N Black & Sons of Dromara add another coveted award to their very impressive CV. The winning performances: 2011 – 57th Open, 2012 – 85th Open, 2013 – 40th Open. The final Triple Award Diploma was won by Tom Marshall & Son of Newtownbreda, 2nd Open INFC Kings Cup in 2011 but five times winner of the East Down Combine OB Derby. Tom’s pigeon recorded 2011 – 82nd Open, 2012 – 23rd Open, 2013 – 38th Open.
INFC Merit Award – The Merit award is the second step to winning the INFC Hall of Fame Diploma. A truly brilliant pigeon raced by S Kane of Newry wins his Merit Award with two top performances: 2012 – 23rd Open, 2013 – 27th Open and 2nd in the Single Bird Challenge total cash winnings £2,519. Some Pigeon! The second Merit Award was won by the ever consistent L Magee & Son of Lisburn & Dist. Jackie’s pigeon won: 2012 – 4th Open and was the first yearling clocked collecting the McCloud Cup plus £1,000 and in 2013 the Merit Award was secured with 85th Open. These awards are presented at the Quiz Night in Antrim organised by Syd Collins.
The French Diploma – This very much sought after award is for the Best Average St Malo and the Kings Cup. The St Malo birds had to be re-routed to Portland as the weather in France was not suitable for a liberation. The fanciers had no control over this decision so the French Diploma will be awarded to the loft with the Best Ave Portland and the Kings Cup. I congratulate the Gilford & Dist partnership of Cyril and Hilary Beattie who win the award with 5th Open Portland and 2nd Open Kings Cup.
INFC Dinner/Prize Night – The traditional date for the INFC Annual Dinner is the Stormont Hotel is the last Friday in November, this year November has five Friday’s so the dinner date will be 29th. I have already had several enquiries regarding the date and seating arrangements. For those who have awards to receive each table seats a maximum of 10 and if possible we like to get family and friends together. Tickets from Ronnie Johnston or Trevor Topping.
Jim Young Dundonald – A sensational start to the 2013 young bird season for Jim Young. He always does his homework with the YB’s and you can be sure they are well prepared. The East Down Combine started in Navan and the J Young & Partners loft won 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th Club plus 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th Open. The second race was again flown from Navan and Jim Young won 1st Club, 1st Sect and 1st Open EDC some 5,600 birds competing. A brilliant start to the season for one of the nicest fanciers you could meet. Irish Rover.