Pigeon legend Darragh dominates prize list at Cullybackey HPS dinner

FOR the second year the Cullybackey HPS returned to the Adair Arms Hotel for its annual dinner and prize presentation.

In the absence of President Brian Herbison who was away on other business the former Chairman of the club James Greer welcomed the members and friends and then invited Alan Darragh to say grace prior to the dinner being served.

Guests included Brian Hayes from the Bridge Garage, the main sponsor each season for racing and shows and local pigeon scribe “Homer”.

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One year ago it was reported that Alan Darragh had a record season and if anything it was even better in 2012 winning over 20 cups and trophies that included the Russell Family Cup for Top Prize-winner.

The Darragh loft won most races in the old bird programme and of the 10 Mid Antrim Combine Diplomas won by Cullybackey HPS he won 9 which I believe equals the season record held by Danny Dixon. He was just a couple of pounds ahead of Reid Bros & McCloy who had a best ever season and had most wins in the young bird season. Between them these two lofts kept the Cullybackey HPS name to the fore.

Added to that was 1st Mid Antrim Combine in the Premier YB Nat from Talbenny won by Wendal Scott who a number of years back topped the NIPA in this event from South Wales, a YB Derby in those days.

The leading lofts were: A Darragh, Reid Bros & McCloy, Russell Bros, J & J Greer, H & R McCloy, S Steele, D Robinson, W Scott, C McDowell, B Herbison, N & S Anderson and D & H Kirkpatrick. Reid Bros & McCloy won the Bridge Garage sponsored races in both old birds and young birds.

In the old bird racing a major competition within the Mid Antrim Combine is the Champions League with each member club nominating four lofts to compete, firstly in 4 x Leagues and then Knock-Out in the cross channel races with the big final at Penzance. This year Reid Bros & McCloy beat Stewart Bros from Randalstown in the final.

It was no surprise that Cullybackey HPS won the Mid Antrim Combine Points Shield for Old Birds and Alan Darragh added a collection of awards with both the NIPA and Mid Antrim Combine. With the NIPA where he is Vice Chairman he wins the Sect B Fancier of the Year in Old Birds and the Les Mairs Memorial Cup for 1st Sect B in the OB National from St Malo.

With Mid Antrim Alan wins the McIlhagga Cup for 1st Mid Antrim Combine in the St Malo OB National and the Les Mairs Cup for the for Old Bird Fancier of the Year.

The top positions won in the Mid Antrim Combine included the following. For Alan Darragh – 1st Tullamore (2) 109/2736, vel 1528, 1st & 2nd Clonmel (1) 115/3011, vel 1343 and 1337, 1st Fermoy (1) 116/2896, vel 1517, 1st Talbenny (1) 108/1544, vel 1171, 3rd Rosscarbery Yearling Cock 34/310, vel 1311, 1st Talbenny (2) 82/771, vel 1355, 1st St Malo 54/154, vel 1361, 3rd Tullamore (1) 61/1585, vel 1505. With the INFC 1st Skibbereen OB Nat vel 1598, 1st Quimper Friendship Nat vel 730, 1st Penzance YB Grand Nat vel 1397. For Wendal Scott 1st Talbenny YB Nat 66/385, vel 1462.

Cullybackey HPS: Show season started last Saturday evening with classes for Young Birds Through Wires, it was a night of good success for local lofts with J & J Greer winning 1st in Young Cocks and Russell Bros 1st in Young Hens.

* Ballymena & District HPS: The annual show series commenced on October 29th the usual Monday date with classes for Young Cocks & Young Hens Through Wires, to be followed on Monday 5th November with classes for Old Cock & Old Hens Through the Wires.

The Pigeon Moot held at the Ballymena United Social Club was a great success many thanks to all who helped and those who attended. Special word of thanks to the panel members who had travelled from the East Down Combine area, Joe Cromie, Jackie Crossan, Rab Hunter and Paddy Lue and also Sean Diamond from the North Coast Classic One Loft Race in Coleraine.

Adie McCormick was a good Chairman keeping the questions flowing and sold a small draft of selected birds, thanks to those who presented same and those who made a purchase. Many thanks to all those who supplied food and prizes and thanks as well to the main sponsors Brian Herbison & H Beattie & Son and McCausland’s Feed Supplies, Banbridge.

The annual Open Show will take place as usual on New Year’s Day which is Tuesday 1st January 2013. The annual dinner and prize distribution will be same weekend as last year, Friday 11th January 2013 at Tullyglass Hotel. Members should give their Ring Orders for 2013 to Mrs Elke Sempey.

All the arrangements for the winter season are in the hands of the club’s hard working Events Committee that meet as required.

* New Antrim Amalgamated: The club AGM has been set for 27th November in their local clubrooms on the main Antrim Road. All correspondence to Secretary Chris Moore, 235 Cushendall Road, Ballymena.