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Fancier of the Year, 2005.
M & R Hamilton of the Coalisland Club - Section A

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All you people out there that know the “Spaniard” will see how genuine this fancier is. If you need any help he would genuinely offer his assistance. Only the other week he offered to wire up the electric for myself and my new partner Kenny Bells lofts for us and he wouldn’t take a dime for doing this. This is what a true and genuine fancier and dare I say a personnel friend I class this man. When a lot of so called fanciers have tried to knock our partnership from getting off the ground we have had the two section fanciers of the year in 2004 and 2005 around at some stage giving us their help which has been much appreciated (although some off Steve’s jokes can be a bit off putting) but that is his only fault? When the top men in the section offer their assistance you wonder what all the fuss has been about? But I know the ones that have been doing the stirring and know doubt me being me I will have a wee chat at some stag with them and ask what all the fuss is about. I believe in freedom of speech but if you have nothing good to say about someone when they usually don’t know the persons background there talking about, they would be better to keep quite! One thing about Mickey, he is a tireless worker with the pigeons and he’s totally dedicated and when I mean dedicated that’s what I mean! You have heard the saying pigeons are 365 days a year! Well they are in this house. I’ve known this fancier for a few years now and with my hand on heart I am really pleased that the partnership of M & R Hamilton have won the title that they so deservedly deserve.
Fancier of the Year, 2005.


As you all know I am the press officer of the Nipa and with this title you get the privilege of going around and seeing and handling the big open winners in the Nipa. I’ve been to some of the best lofts in the province and although it gave me great pleasure seeing some of the finest superstars in our sport I have to admit that I was over the moon for the loft of M & R Hamilton of Coalisland, winning the title of Fancier of the Year in Section A.

Why you might ask? Well let me tell you.

All you people out there that know the “Spaniard” will see how genuine this fancier is. If you need any help he would genuinely offer his assistance. Only the other week he offered to wire up the electric for myself and my new partner Kenny Bells lofts for us and he wouldn’t take a dime for doing this. This is what a true and genuine fancier and dare I say a personnel friend I class this man. When a lot of so called fanciers have tried to knock our partnership from getting off the ground we have had the two section fanciers of the year in 2004 and 2005 around at some stage giving us their help which has been much appreciated (although some off Steve’s jokes can be a bit off putting) but that is his only fault? When the top men in the section offer their assistance you wonder what all the fuss has been about? But I know the ones that have been doing the stirring and know doubt me being me I will have a wee chat at some stag with them and ask what all the fuss is about. I believe in freedom of speech but if you have nothing good to say about someone when they usually don’t know the persons background there talking about, they would be better to keep quite! One thing about Mickey, he is a tireless worker with the pigeons and he’s totally dedicated and when I mean dedicated that’s what I mean! You have heard the saying pigeons are 365 days a year! Well they are in this house. I’ve known this fancier for a few years now and with my hand on heart I am really pleased that the partnership of M & R Hamilton have won the title that they so deservedly deserve.

We have all come across obstacles in life which have knocked us for six but nothing like what this young man and children have had to suffer. A few years back this family lost a beloved son and to make matters worse lost a dear mother and wonderful wife. So when I stated at the start that I was over the moon for Mickey and Ronan winning the coveted title, you can see were I was coming from. Know one can imagine how low this family must have got when troubles came their way but I have know doubt that when husband and devoted father Mickey and son Ronan won the title Byran and Leon were smiling down on them. Mickey is 100% a true pigeon man but far more dedicated to his family. He has his priorities right in life and this is why maybe he is so successful. He has made his family proud and also his club mates and friends. When I say successful I mean successful. Since coming back into the sport he has won 20x1st clubs and 7x1st sections which is top class flying from a small back garden loft. This year in particular he has been to the front in the section almost every week and when he phones me through his time on a Saturday you wonder how he does it. All you have to do is go round and see the stock that he houses at Pinegrove and you will see why he’s got results like these.

The stock birds are out of this world the best Ive seen for a while. He only keeps 20 pairs of stock and every pair has been successful for him. The lines housed are from the best at the Ponderosa and these are the Van Loons and Janssen lines with top lines from his good friend Henry Mc Laughlin off his famous Hartog family, which have also won straight away. The birds are of good balance and silky feather quality with very good eyesign qualities and a nice tight wing. You can start to see a family of pigeons coming together and when you take a look at the stock, you see what he’s done in a short space of time. Last year he finished runner up fancier of the year and as the team grew in depth it showed this year were they can only be described as outstanding. The reasoning behind them getting these lines was that when Mickey flew in the early 90`s the Eijgerkamp pigeons were winning big so when he restarted he saw that they were still winning to this present day if not better? So he decided he must have them. So with the expertise of stud manager Tony Haynes he acquired the best possible lines and every one that he got from the stud have done the business, for Mickey and Ronan. The Hartogs were know problem to introduce as Mickey watched at first hand being a personnel friend of Henrys the destruction they were doing in not only Section A but also at national level. When these were introduced success came instantly pure and crossed into the ponderosa lines.

The club they fly in is the strong Coalisland and District were they could send up to 500birds weekly when the season gets going. This is a very strong club when you take into account that the former four times fancier of the year, Henry Mc Laughlin races here. This club had also there fair share of section victories and came close on varies occasions on topping the mighty Nipa open and not forgetting Kevin Carolans near miss in the Friendship national were he finished 2nd open and nearly won a national for the club (hope you stay in the sport Kevin). This is the calibre of men you race against in the Coalisland club.
As I have mentioned earlier the birds are kept in a small compact garden with very little view to see the bird’s race home on race days. When they get a pigeon its on them in a flash. The racing loft is 26ft long and of double-decker design that has two 7ft sections for the widowhood cocks and the rest is for youngsters. Down below, the racing hens and stock birds are kept. The lofts are constructed of wood and everything is kept very neat and tidy. The stock birds are put together on the 15th December with the racers pared on the 29th December. All racers rear a pair of youngsters and these are usually sold or some given to friends to try out. The youngsters from the stock birds form the young bird team for that season were a total of 80 youngsters are usually raced. The lines housed here are all crossed for racing and as the birds are of a same type its just a matter of taking one bird from each family and pairing them together. Later in the year a few of the lines of the same family are put together specifically for stock purposes and at the end of the season the best are selected for future stock. Before pairing all birds in the garden would have been treated for paratyphoid and canker. Once the race team have reared a round of youngsters they are split for 4 weeks before being put onto widowhood.

The top stock pair at the moment in the garden would have to be a lovely blue Van Loon cock and a Janssen hen when together have bred super pigeons lately. This season two yearling brothers scored very well on the channel. One scored from Bude 279 miles and took 13th open from 9,192b, and the next week from the Sennen Cove Classic; the other brother scored 13th open and then 22nd open from Sennen Cove 311 miles, from a field of 7,436b.
This is not a one off either as this year six youngsters were bred from this cock and five are still remaining that have had every race, with three of them scoring very well. In the Talbenny young bird national from a field of 3,893b a daughter was 55th open and a granddaughter was also 44th open. He is also sire to two nest mates that were 45th and 62nd national from the young bird Rosscarbery from a field of 6,011b. Fast or hard days this line always comes to the front when big results are got. This is an exceptional cock bird and when you consider that he is only a 02 pigeon the best is yet to come.
Another top stock cock is a black Van Loon cock that has bred a stack of good pigeons all of which have made the top twenty in the section when paired to several hens. One of his best is a blue hen called the “57 Hen” that has won 2x1st clubs and a 1st section. She has been a very steady and honest racer for the partnership and she will now be going to the stock loft.


Another top stock cock is “Treble-One”. This super pigeon is a direct son out of Henry Mc Laughlin’s “Blue Devil Lady”, that has been exceptional for Henry. “Treble-One” in his first nest bred a bird to be 1st club 2nd section and 30th open. He also is the father of another hen that has won 2x1st clubs and a 1st and 2nd section from Pilmore Beach and Rosscarbery.

A blue Janssen cock is also sire and grand sire of 2x1st section winners. He himself has fathered 2x1st club winners and 1x1st section also a pigeon to be 85th open in the 2003 Talbenny Young Bird Derby. This cock is an exceptional specimen with a top class-breeding eye.

All the old birds are raced on the widowhood system were they are trained to fly hard as long as possible morning and night. They like to see the racers flying round home with zest. You here men saying that their birds fly for an hour or more, they don’t care if they only fly for 15 minutes or so as long as there going at it. Sometimes the hens are put on the transporter maybe once a week if needed but not the cocks. All the youngsters are placed on the darkness and this has no detrimental effect on them as old birds. What they usually find is their best youngsters are usually their best old birds anyway. “If you don’t move with the times you get left behind”! All the racers both old and young are fed 1 1/2oz per day of the best possible mixture available. Sunday is a day of rest for the birds (usually Mickey is worse for ware on a Sunday). They’re just fed and left alone. On Monday the birds get out in the evening and a bath is made available for them. On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday the racers get their daily exercise. They are a big believer in keeping thinks natural and would give the racers garlic on a Monday and the following days cider vinegar.

All training for old birds would start around 3 weeks before the first race were they would have as many tosses as possible from the “mountain house” which is 28 miles back to the lofts. They like to stagger the baskets and have them firing out of the gun and heading straight for home when they have them right. When they’re doing this Mickey knows he’s got them right. The young birds get the same regimental training only starting slightly earlier as Mickey likes to get them into the area libs as he has seen that this early education with being released from a large batch gives them great education and sets them up ready for the section races a few weeks later. The pigeons are raced every week down the middle of Ireland but when it comes to the channel they go every two weeks as Mickey thinks the Irish Sea can take more out of them than what fanciers realize. His family of pigeons can win from the start right out to Sennen Cove and this is what is needed if you want to be successful to try and challenge for “Fancier of the Year”.
His most memorable experience since he returned back into the sport was winning two back-to-back section wins at his first attempt and also the two brothers mentioned earlier that flew brilliantly from Bude and Sennen Cove.

Two men that Mickey would like to say a special thank you too, are Tony Haynes manager of the Ponderosa for his expertise on selecting him all of his stock that have all done the business for the partnership and also to Henry Mc Laughlin for the birds that he got from him.
Mickey said that he thought the one-loft races are a great avenue to get young people especially schools involved in the sport.
His ambition in life is to continue enjoying the sport and with the help of his family some day if things go right win a Nipa open.

Know doubt the way they have been flying these past few seasons it possibly could happen?


Bannsider
by: Bannsider

E-mail:
Mcseveneyj@aol.com

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