- The Best Middle Distance Pigeon In The UK &
Ireland In 2004!
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The Irish people can be described metaphorically
as a river of many streams but it cannot be denied
that the bulk of our genetic make up is Celtic.
In acknowledging this truth I wish to draw attention
to the medieval store of legend and myth that
exists from our past of whom a major figure was
Finn the leader of the ancient Fianna, a warrior
band. The stories which were expressed at many
a fireside over the centuries also referred in
one version to Finn as a giant and in fact one
story relates to the building of the Giant's Causeway
my reason for referring to the old stories is
because of a pigeon owned and raced by Terence
and Brigid McCrudden of Coleraine, in County Derry.
For when I first read of its exploits and name
I thought of the son of Finn known as Oisin (Irish
language: pronounced Osheen) who was a warrior
and a poet. The adventures, which I had read of
Oisin equated with that of McCrudden's 'Oisin'
for one had to posses of youth, of strength, of
vitality to win five consecutive NIPA Section
races in one old bird season plus three RPRA Irish
Region Meritorious Awards as well as being the
top old bird in what another scribe refers to
as the 'mighty NIPA' for 2004. In fact he could
have went unto further glory but for the owners
decision to stop him from racing any more that
year. He is also the recipient of the prestigious
Major Lewis Trophy and at the Blackpool (2004)
ceremonies was awarded the trophy for the best
middle distance pigeon in the UK for 2004. As
for the poetry- Oisin is pure poetry in motion!
The Best Middle Distance Pigeon In The UK
& Ireland In 2004!
Oisin is a well handled, well balanced, intelligent
Van Loon chequer cock whose accomplishments may
not be ever repeated for some time in Ireland,
if ever. Of course rather sadly in our sport there
are still those who for whatever will use the
phrase a 'flash in the pan' when referring to
Oisin's achievements - but this is no flash in
the pan as acknowledged by those of the British
and Irish fancy who know what they are talking
about and who give honour where honour is due.
For this worthy champion for the past year of
2004 has this record:
Talbenny, Wales- 1:1st Section,50th Open N.I.P.A.
Talbenny, Wales-2: 1st Section,34th Open N.I.P.A.
Bude,Cornwall : 1st Section, 3rd Open N.I.P.A.
Sennan Cove, Cornwall- 1: 1st Section, 6th Open,
Sennan Cove, Cornwall- 2: 1st Section, 6th Open
N.I.P.A. 3,295 birds.
Against 50,000 plus pigeons this great pigeon
in five races was in the first fiftieth of the
Open five times. In fact this bird told the McCrudden's
that it was in form and ready to go and its owners
dutifully responded and the beloved Oisin did
not let them down. This representative of the
Van Loon strain has put Coleraine a great pigeon
flying town on the map amongst the pigeon racing
fraternity. The Bannside town where it is recorded:
'As beautiful Kitty one morning was tripping
With a pitcher of milk near the town of Coleraine,
As she saw me she stumbled, the pitcher it tumbled
And all the sweet buttermilk watered the plain...'
A song from my past and interestingly enough Oisins
male co-owner is a son of Charlie McCrudden a
good friend of my late father whom I recall visiting
my ancestral home when I wore but short trousers.
Of course my father's father originated from the
town alongside the River Bann and many a visit
I made to it in relation to pigeon racing, soccer,
Irish culture and even politics. So in returning
to do this write up I was also making touch with
a varied past... But to return to the pigeons
of Terence and Brigid McCrudden: I have not seen
as good a loft of pigeons within the last three
years as I saw at the McCrudden lofts. Like peas
in a pod they are bouncing with super health and
condition and mind you our visit was on New Year's
Day.Yes, as organised by and with Tommy Cummings
of Limavady I came to do a report on the super
Oisin but I assure you that these are not a one
bird series of lofts. There are many winners lofted
here including birds which have won 8 races and
11 races, etc., flying into the far north west
of Ireland across the St. George's Channel and
the Irish sea. Channel birds supreme - of that
contention the facts confirm! And what a cross
for the long distance families - the Aardens based,
But when did it all begin? There were always pigeons
in the McCrudden family for Terence's father had
them but for the present maestro of the wife and
husband partnership it began in earnest in 1969
when he joined the Coleraine Premier Society and
although his first winner was disqualified due
to clock deficiencies the first official win was
from Belleek in the NIPA Open in 1974.Since then
pigeon racing was always an important part as
well as greyhounds in the life of this welcoming
family and the involvement of the doggies was
an important factor in the formation of this modern
racing loft. For as Terence revealed through involvement
with greyhounds and upon a visit to England because
of the latter fate ensured that while strolling
through Newcastle he stopped at a loft and met
fanciers who were to become good friends and who
were to become the source of the way to success
and the appearance of Oisin and others. The fanciers
were Jimmy and Alex Showler and the McCruddens
are extremely thankful to the latter partnership
for their friendship and the birds that they obtained
and succeeded with.
The partnership recognises that long distance
racing is different from middle distance racing
and at present are more committeed to the latter
knowing that it involves within the Irish context
difficult channel crossings. They use the widowhood
system almost as an art based upon personal hard
work. A committed pair to the sport would be hard
to find. In fact Terence showed an animation when
he described his methods that had to be admired.
The latter reflecting that the success of the
partnership emanates from authentic pigeon sportsmanship.
Their advice to the novice is to go to a successful
fancier within their own area and purchase about
8 pigeons as a basis. Then have patience and generate
an appropriate management system for ones income
and circumstances. Success will follow if the
commitment is there!
Like others they have had many disappointments
especially during blow homes for example losing
two cocks who were winners of 8 and 10 races respectively.
Oisin of course has been their pride and joy in
the sport and his successes covers the disappointments.
However I agree with Terence that there are others
ready to show their worth especially a particular
chequer cock of supreme phenotype.
The lack of given honour when honour is due to
a fancier and his birds are what they dislike
and is their main regret of the behaviour of some
of the pigeon racing fraternity. Of course they
regret the possible slow demise of the sport especially
through the failure of recruiting the youth and
feel that the fancy will have to see what can
be done about this occurrence.
Bamfords Super Widowhood mixture is the stable
diet and in the winter they give 80% barley. They
also use Gem Natural Products and Hormoform alongside
multi- vitamins. Prior to mating the pigeons are
treated for worms and canker and also after every
race on a Sunday the canker treatment continues.
I found the lofts dry and well ventilated and
the partnership are grateful to Frankie McAreavy
of Coleraine for the magnificent lofts as they
now stand.In fact they could not speak highly
enough of the latter craftsman to the degree of
which they would like and through this report
and also to the Showler's Terence and Brigid expresses
their sincere thanks.
Well as the foregoing confirms I was highly impressed
re my visit to the McCruddens. I thank Terence
and Brigid for their hospitality - a measure of
which that I felt at home. May they and theirs
have many years of happinness and continuing success
with the thoroughbreds of the sky. They deserve
it! And as Tommy Cummings says to have an equal
to Oisin would be worth a life time of pigeon
racing. Slan agus Beannacht! (Farewell and God
by: Liam O Comain