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Scarecrow - Nipa Champion Old Bird 2005.
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Set deep in the foothills of the Mourne Mountains race one of the top stars in the mighty NIPA the lofts of Donnelly Brothers.

Winner of the Mallow 5-Bird Championship For Donnelly Bros of Newry.


Before I start this article I would firstly like to thank the Editor, Steve Richards and the staff of the BHW on behalf of Richard and John for inviting them to contribute this article to the British Homing World Stud Book.

Set deep in the foothills of the Mourne Mountains race one of the top stars in the mighty NIPA the lofts of Donnelly Brothers.
The partnership of Richard and John Donnelly came together in the year 1990. Previously they had flown separately. John the older brother was the first that became interested in the sport through a fellow fancier from the Dromore area the late Alfie Magill. This was in the late 70s and a loft was erected for John then 12 years old and he then joined the Newry Invitation Club in 1978 were they still race to this day. Incidentally this first loft still forms part of their present day set up.

In the mid 1980s the younger brother Richard started to take an interest in the pigeons at a tender age of 16. They both raced to the same garden were they still fly to today. Saturdays was always an exciting day waiting for the first arrival. The anticipation and anxiety on a Saturday was there to see, as both brothers didn’t know which lofts the first pigeons would home to. So in 1990 it was decided to come together and form the present day partnership of Donnelly Bros.

In the year 1990 a sale of top class winning pigeons for the late WV Troughten of Bleary, Co. Armagh were to come on the market as this fancier had decided to retire from the sport. This was a family of winning lines that had excelled at the highest level in the mighty NIPA winning all before them. John and Richard decided to go to this major sale and try and purchase some of this excellent stock. They went to the sale and managed to buy twelve of these pigeons. They purchased four principle Delbar cocks and a Grondelaer Gweerts young bird cock that had won 8th open from Tramore from 160 miles from over 20, 000 birds and 2nd open from Skibbereen Derby the following week, beaten only by a loft mate. The sire of this cock was one of the Delbar cocks that they had purchased. This young cock now known as the “G2”, went on to become their number one stock cock were his bloodlines have excelled at the highest level in NIPA racing. His bloodlines have been responsible for attaining most of their open winners to this day. Three direct sons of “G2” have won NIPA opens from over 26, 000 birds.

When acquiring new stock the brothers would always be on the look out for winning lines. These must be winning lines at the very top. They like a well-balanced pigeon with good feather quality. The racing lofts are of varying designs with tiled apex, tin apex and flat roofs. There are also different means of ventilation with the old bird lofts being ventilated through the tiles in the roof and the doors. The young bird lofts ventilation enters via louvers along the front of the loft and a 3-inch gap running the length at roof level.
The season starts for the partnership at the start of the good moult with the inmates receiving plenty of good baths and fed ½ depurative and ½ moulting mix until pairing up.

The race team are paired around the middle of January with only the best bred from. They each are allowed to rear two youngsters in the nest and must rear them up until weaning. Then the youngsters are removed and the cocks will sit for another seven days and then will be put on widowhood. The training will begin with the birds flying around the lofts with a gradual build up of exercise eventually flying for an hour morning and night. Prior to the beginning of racing the pigeons will have a treatment for canker and then half way through the season will they have the same. That is all. They believe medication should only be given when needed. There is know guess work. They would always seek medical advice before following out any medical requirements. If its not broke don’t fix it!

The racers would go to all the inland races with the best selected for the big national and specialist races. Prior to basketing it really depends on the wind direction if the cocks would see their hen. If it was going to be a fast day they wouldn’t want to excite the cocks to much and they may only get their bowl or nothing at all.

This now takes us on to the star of this report, “Scarecrow”. This two-year-old black widowhood cock can only be described as a racing machine. In his short racing career he has amassed a total of 3 x 1st opens in the mighty NIPA against massive birdage. From the prestigious Mallow 5-Bird Championship this super-racing machine was out on his own against what can be described as the cream of the sprint birds here in the mighty NIPA. If he was an athlete he would go down in history with the likes of the immortal “Carl Lewis”, described by many as the best male sprinter of all time.

“Mallow 5-Bird Championship”


On Saturday 11th June the mighty NIPA held their inarguable 5-Bird event from Mallow in Co. Cork. 650 members sent 2, 884 of the finest birds to this prestige event. The convoy was competing for not only the impressive Tyrone crystal trophy but also prize money of £15, 118.
In this race every loft that enters can send up to 5 of their best birds to this event. The convoy was liberated at 11.15 into a fresh headwind and glorious sunshine, which would make conditions perfect for the journey home. This has to be one of the best races in Ireland in the NIPA were you can send your best birds to compete against the cream of sprinters in the NIPA. In one of my reports done earlier for this race it read.

Congratulations goes to the Newry loft of Donnelly Bros, Richard and John on winning the race with the only pigeon breaking through the 1300ypm barrier and also winning £857. This loft is one of the best lofts in the mighty NIPA. Not only have they just one the 5-Bird event the week previous they won the NIPA open from over 13, 000 birds with the same widowhood cock bird that has now won the NIPA 5-Bird Championship. Last season the loft also won the same two races and have now done the same double. That is what I call serious flying. The winner of this remarkable achievement of winning back-to-back NIPA opens is a 2yo black widowhood cock named “Scarecrow”. This outstanding widowhood cock also won the mighty NIPA open last season from Rosscarbery from 14, 575 birds. That’s 3x 1st opens to his credit. He also finished with the coveted 1st Irish Region RPRA Award in the 0-250 miles and went on to claim 3rd Overall RPRA Award in Great Britain 0-250miles as a yearling.

Scarecrow was mated in the middle of January with the rest of his inmates and reared two youngsters. He was then left to sit on the second round for seven days. Once put on widowhood he was exercised round home morning and evening up to a gradual build up of one hour. From his first race from 1st Kilkenny on the 16th April he was 64th open from 25, 214 birds. The following week again from Kilkenny he finished 99th open from a field of 26, 120 birds. From the Pilmore Beach race in a northwest wind he finished 4th open from a field of 25, 641 birds. He was then sent to the Rosscarbery Old Bird National with full confidence but failed to return on the day, which set the alarm bells ringing with the Donnelly Bros. He spent a night out the first and last time he would have to do this due to know doubt that he suffered a scalp to the wing were he might have had a near deaf experience with a hawk. He was rested for a while and started to show signs that he was know worse for ware from the injury he received and was sent to the very fast Thurles race.

The following week was an inland race from Rosscarbery and during this week “Scarecrow” was showing signs of hitting top form. He was noted showing off around the loft clapping on and off with a great big ball in his throat and every time he hit the loft he would start to sing! A true sign that he was right on the button. He was entered into the race and came and won the mighty NIPA open from a field of over 13, 000 birds. He received his hen for the first time in the season for this race before being basketed and he finished like a train. Last season he won this very same race with over 14, 000 birds. I remember phoning up Richard to get a photo of this remarkable pigeon and he told me to wait another week, as he didn’t want to annoy him as he had one more race to do and that was the Mallow 5-Bird. How right he was. He was got ready for the Championship race with an hours exercise morning and night with a daily feed of ½ depurative and ½ widowhood up until Wednesday morning then on Wednesday night till basketing day full widowhood feed. He was fed on the best Belgium mixture that they could purchase. For the Mallow 5-Bird race he received his hen a little bit longer for this event. He was the only bird in this race to break the 1300ypm into a northwest wind and was 11ypm clear of the pigeon in 2nd open. Not only did they pull off a remarkable double with “Scarecrow” winning back to back NIPA open wins. They also won these two very same opens last season, which is truly world, class flying.

I asked Richard what plans he had made for the immortal “Scarecrow”? And he told me he will now move into the stock loft the most important loft in the garden were you have to put your best!

His most memorable result would have to be “Scarecrow” on winning 3 x 1st NIPA opens against massive birdage. This in a long line of success that has seen this partnership win 24 x 1st NIPA opens; 1st INFC Skibbereen National; 3 x 1st Gold ring wins and countless Region Awards.
Their advice to new starters is don’t keep to many pigeons and always try and buy what you can afford and listen to experienced fanciers. We should always try and encourage new starters, as this sport is very hard. It takes time and a lot of hard work to get to the top and even more to stay there. We started at the very bottom and struggled but now we can compete with the best.

I asked them whom they admire in the sport? And they replied Terence Mc Crudden for racing the wonderful dark Chequer widowhood cock last season that won five sections on the channel and acclaimed the title of “Champion of Britain” at Middle Distance in 2004. Many a fancier would have chickened out flying a pigeon like that to the far end of Northern Ireland. But he kept him going. In closing the Donnelly Bros would like to thank all those that congratulated them in this remarkable achievement with this super pigeon winning 3 x 1st NIPA opens, and I bet it wont be the last time you read about the “Carl Lewis” of the pigeon world.

Stop Press: On Saturday August 12th Richard and John won the mighty NIPA open with young birds from a field of 18, 282 birds in a southwest wind.

The following week on August 13th they went one better with a 1st and 2nd open from a field of 22, 319 birds into a westerly wind.


Bannsider
by: Bannsider

E-mail:
Mcseveneyj@aol.com

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