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Jimmy Greer - Irish Old Bird National Winner 2004
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To win a National is something that few of us ever do but to win an Irish National implies good management and a super racing pigeon. That necessary combination ensured that Jimmy Greer of Portglenone won the Blue Riband of Irish distance racing for 2004. Readers I assume will be aware of the national competitions into Ireland where a maverick maritime climate plays tricks with our birds as they battle across two seas as well as hundreds of miles of earth configurations. The worst of the latter configurations ensuring the generation of much fear for our brave thoroughbreds as they are the habitats of winged predators. It being acknowledged as one of the toughest if not the toughest route that pigeons have to face.

To win a National is something that few of us ever do but to win an Irish National implies good management and a super racing pigeon. That necessary combination ensured that Jimmy Greer of Portglenone won the Blue Riband of Irish distance racing for 2004. Readers I assume will be aware of the national competitions into Ireland where a maverick maritime climate plays tricks with our birds as they battle across two seas as well as hundreds of miles of earth configurations. The worst of the latter configurations ensuring the generation of much fear for our brave thoroughbreds as they are the habitats of winged predators. It being acknowledged as one of the toughest if not the toughest route that pigeons have to face.

This years winner wherever I have travelled is a most popular one and the result confirms that he is a dedicated pigeon fancier. In fact this is not the first time for the Greer lofts to have scored at the tough Irish Nationals for Jimmy is well nigh 50 years at the sport and although scoring at all distances he prefers the long and marathon distances. Apparently Les Sables in France which has been a Waterloo for many brave Irish pigeons is a favourite liberation point for Jimmy. A beautiful black chequer hen known as the 'Les Sables Hen' in the past flew from this race point ( 613 miles) on three occasions including recording 51st Open Irish National for the Greer family. Part of the bloodlines apparently going back to the strain of the great Robbie Stoddart of Scotland.

Jimmy was first introduced to the sport by a fancier called John Smith from his home area. He has happy memories of those days for as a young boy gathering turf on an Irish bog the venture brought him into the joy of pigeon keeping and racing. For upon the invitation of the kind Mr. Smith Jimmy saw his first race arrival and as he said himself 'I was hooked'. Another influence upon the young mind was a family of fanciers from the same locality called the Reid Brothers who specialized in distance racing. Thus the seed was set early and in due course its growth over the decades would bring the King's Cup to this well liked member of the Cullybackey pigeon club.

As time passed the Greer family was being built by a master of pigeon racing husbandry and because of Scottish family connections Jimmy would have made trips to that other domain of the Celts. Those visits were to prove fruitful within the context of pigeon racing for he met the late Alan Geddis and in becoming a friend of this very good fancier in due course six youngsters were to arrive from Scotland. One of which was to become the sire of 'Rachel' the 2004 National Winner and contained bloodlines of Aarden/Janssen and via Geddis's baselines blood of the old Mason '1210' strain of Scotland. The dam of the national winner is of Norbert Sierens bloodlines and arrived at the Portglenone lofts as an egg from Belgium.

Rachel is a two year old blue bar hen who covered the distance for the national prize in 13 hours and 27 minutes at a velocity of 1149 yards per minute. The race was from Messac in France and the distance 527 miles. This fine looking hen was not raced in any channel races prior to her win but had a few inland races upto 253 miles. As a yearling Rachel had flown Penzance. She was sent sitting 16 days on eggs and had four tosses, twice at 40 and twice at 100 miles. The rest is part of pigeon racing history.


Liam O Comain  -
by: Liam O Comain

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