Ballymena & MAC joint presentation –

Ballymena & MAC joint presentation –

Ballymena Dinner in Adair Arms Hotel –  Click Here for the full report

Ballymena Highest Prize-winner Johnston Eagleson with from (l) Jackie Steele Chairman MAC, Nicola Gilbert Chair-person Ballymena and Ken Wilkinson Chairman of the NIPA.

Ballymena Highest Prize-winner Johnston Eagleson with from (l) Jackie Steele Chairman MAC, Nicola Gilbert Chair-person Ballymena and Ken Wilkinson Chairman of the NIPA.

NIPA Chairman Ken Wilkinson was the special guest of Ballymena & District HPS when the local club joined with the members of Mid Antrim Combine at the annual dinner and presentation of prizes held at the Adair Arms Hotel in Ballymena town centre. He welcomed another full house and invited Martin Graham to say grace.

Following a fantastic meal the Ballymena Chairperson Nicola Gilbert who had a heavy cold welcomed the good turn-out which included visitors from Antrim, Randalstown, Ahoghill, Cullybackey, Harryville, Rasharkin and Ballymoney. She thanked the hotel for the lovely spread and the fact they took the booking at very short notice due to problems at Tullyglass. She congratulated all the winners and the awards were presented by Ken & Eileen who presented the Ballymena cups and trophies and the prize cards, and Sharon McFall presented the Framed Photos. For Mid Antrim Combine Danny Dixon presented the cups and trophies and Pat Ramsey the winning 1st MAC Diplomas. The MAC are indeed most grateful to Dixon Contractors who once again sponsored the trophy engraving and the printing of the winning Diplomas.

Ballymena total pay-out was again close to £1,000 and the leading lofts were J Eagleson & Sons who collected the Harper Cup for Highest prize-winner for the second year, followed by Billy & Joe Smyth, McFall & McManus, Blair & Rankin, Martin Graham, G & A Eagleson, J W Reynolds, George Bell and T R Alexander & Son. INFC Prize List – M Graham, J Eagleson & Sons, W & J Smyth, T R Alexander & Son, G & A Eagleson.

Cups and trophies were won as follows:

J Eagleson & Sons – Harper Cup Highest Prize-winner, Mooney Cup Best Individual Bird (17B-10224), Roger King Memorial Cup 6th YB Race, Vintage Cup Talbenny Nat, Ruddle Cup YB Derby, Nat Cup 1922 YB Inl Nat, Skibbereen YB Nat, Best Individual Y/B (17B-18608), Carney Shield Best Ave YB Nat INFC, Flamingo Cup Best Ave Talb & Ross YB, Combined Inl Ave, OB Inland Nat, Fermoy 5 Bird, Yearling Hens Nat, Talbenny (2), OB Inland Average.

Martin Graham – Big Cup Kings Cup & Talbenny (2), O’Rouke Cup St Malo & Kings Cup, Kilpatrick Mem Shield Talbenny YB Nat & St Malo, Maternaghan Cup St Malo & Talbenny, A S Hughes Cup Cross Channel Ave, Law Family Memorial INFC Points, Harper Trophy Talbenny & St Malo, Bobby Law Mem 1st Ylr Penzance, Livingstone Cup 2B Ave Ylr Nat, George Barr Perpetual Cup St Malo, McDowell Challenge OB Derby.

W & J Smyth – 2nd YB Race, Talbenny (1), INFC Ylr Nat, Penzance Old Bird, Bude, Simon McCrory Talbenny  & Penzance. McFall & McManus – YB Inland Ave, Young Bird Ave, Yearling Cocks Nat. G & A Eagleson – Kings Cup, Carney Rose Bowl Best Individual Old Bird.

Ken Wilkinson thanked the club for the invitation, he said Ballymena & Dist had a fantastic year and had a long tradition of top success going back many years. All told the local lofts won 12 x 1sts in the Mid Antrim Combine, for what was probably a best ever season. J Eagleson & Sons had 6 x 1sts in the MAC and 15 x 1sts in Ballymena & District. Their “Champion Channel Queen” won in the NIPA Talbenny YB Nat 1st MAC, 2nd Sect B & 29th Open NIPA 429/1327 on vel 1327 and 10 days later in the INFC Grand National 1st MAC, 6th North Sect & 6th Open INFC Penzance 380/2251 on vel 1024. They also topped Sect B in the OB Fermoy 5 Bird Championship. Martin Graham had an outstanding result in the Old Bird Nat timing the only bird in the NIPA Sect B very difficult race from St Malo in France. Just 10 birds in race time and Martin timed his “Champion Brenda-Ann”  to finish 1st MAC, 1st Sect B & 7th Open NIPA 422/1535 on vel 441 having been previously been 2nd Club, 7th Sect B & 47th Open NIPA from Bude. Martin again topped the club INFC Prize List having another consistent season. George & Ann Eagleson were well pleased with 1st in the MAC from St Allouestre in the Grand Nat Kings Cup, McFall & McManus had 2 x 1sts in the MAC and W & J Smyth also had 2 x 1sts in Talbenny and INFC Sennen Cove Ylr Nat finishing 1st MAC, 19th North Sect & 19th Open INFC 706/4264 on vel 1316. They also won the cross channel races from Bude, Penzance and Penzance Classic. Ken finished by saying all the officials were doing a good job including Mr & Mrs Gilbert who amongst a host of other duties had arranged the presentation evening. He wished all lofts every success in the new 2018 racing season.

Many thanks to all those who assisted with the prize night, James Harris, Willy Gilbert, Willie Smyth, Robert Alexander, Nicola Gilbert who set up the dinner, and Valerie Eagleson who wrote up the prize cards for the third year, all those who brought prizes for the raffle and the sponsors who support us each year faithfully.

Ballymena & District HPS will hold the 2018 Annual General Meeting on Monday 5th February 2018 @ 8.00pm in the Clubrooms at Fountain Place, Ballymena. Any Resignations or Resolutions in writing please to the Secretary W Reynolds, by Saturday 27th January 2018. As well as AGM business the meeting will vote on NIPA resolutions on the AGM Agenda. Mid Antrim Combine report to follow.




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About the author

Willie Reynolds

Covering the sport in Ireland for several years, scribe for both BHW & RP and a number of local newspapers including the News Letter (Farming Life Supplement) each Wednesday. Secretary of Ballymena & District for a number of years and currently PO for the Mighty NIPA & INFC. Watch out for the many articles/news items penned by HOMER.

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