Doheny ( Dublin 1982 King's Cup Winner)
is still the name of the Game
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am one of those people who dislike writing, and
having written an article for the Homing World
Stud Book way back in 1979, I never thought that
I would have to repeat the dose so soon.
writing as the winner of the 1982 King's Cup race
from Le Sables is a different kettle of fish.
The honor only falls to a favored few, and I am
indeed a very proud man to have won this classic
article in 1979 finished on the note that my ambition
for the future was to maintain a high standard
of performance I have set myself from the distance.
Very little has changed in my management over
the last few years. It is still based on common
sense and simplicity, every effort being made
to ensure that the birds are happy in the loft.
I firmly believe that t get the best out of one's
birds, they have to be contented and really want
to return to their home.
in 1982, I decided to make an extra special effort
to get my birds ready for the long French races.
I must confess that I myself was much keener this
year that I have been for a long time and it was
encouraging to note that my racing team seemed
to respond. In a club boasting 80 members, and
embracing the whole federation radius (50 miles
y 15), I won positions in every old bird race.
This was no mean feat when one considers that
the weekly birdage is 800-950. Ours is the only
club within the federation radius where everybody
is welcome to join, as we believe that fanciers
must be able to compete every week in order to
reach the top.
have been top prizewinner in the club for twelve
years out of the last sixteen. I only mention
this to point out that, contrary to popular belief,
it is possible to win both the short to middle
distance sprinters imported from abroad.
It is not necessary to look beyond these islands
for the best pigeons in the world.
back to club racing for a moment, and to the great
sportsmen in my present club, I appreciate and
regret that all pigeon men are not of their caliber.
I remember racing in a club some years back and
winning 13 out of 19 races flown. At the following
years A.G.M. a proposition was put to the members
that the club be divided into two sections.
was defeated on a show of hands, but had carried
I would have been left on my own in one section.
So much for sportsmanship.
up to the kings cup race, my birds continued to
show exceptional form. I was 2nd Open South Road
Fed from penzance (3,500 birds) and then I had
the honor of topping the fed in the old bird derby
from Sartilly with a half brother of the subsequent
King's Cup winner. Incidentally I was runner up
in the race for the Miller Gold Cup, a trophy
I won back in 1969. Actually, it was my third
time being runner-up. My win in the King's Cup
entitled me to join a small select band who have
won both the derby and the King's Cup - Only I
did it in style, winning both in the same year.
the morning of the King's Cup, word came through
that the birds were up in a N.W. wind and concluded
that it would take a very game bird to get back
home. I doubted that any would be clocked on the
day, and that proved true in my own case, I made
no inquiries at all, but got up at 4.45a.m the
following morning (Long distance racing is not
a sport for the lazy fanciers). You can imagine
my surprise when I saw what looked like a pigeon
on the landing board. Sure enough, it was astounded
to see how fresh she was after such a hard fly.
It is hard to imagine what it must be like for
a small bird to fly 514miles into cold N.W. wind
making a velocity of 914 y.p.m. With most of the
journey over water and no protection from the
biting wind. To me it is a supreme test of courage
and some thing I have tried to breed into my pigeons
for twenty years, without great courage, a bird
will not come home to Ireland from France.
ringing Christy O'Connor, I learned that there
had been no day birds, and with, my early time
I knew I was in the hunt for a high position.
When no birds had been recorded by 11.30 a.m,
I realized I was the likely winner and I now felt
that I had realized my lifelong ambition, Incidentally,
there were no other birds in race time in Eire,
and only a handful returned to the North of Ireland
over the tree days. My little hen was certainly
a worthy winner.
have decided to call the King's Cup winner after
my wife Nancy. My wife has given me tremendous
support and encouragement over the years, and
has always shown great patience and understanding
when unfortunate holdovers have tended to disrupt
the family routine. And would you believe it on
the day I won the King's Cup, My parents were
celebrating their Gold Wedding anniversary. It
was certainly a day to remember.
King's Cup winner is a five-year-old red hen and
I decided to race her very lightly before the
big race. The reason behind this thinking was
the fact that she is not only heavily built and
have found in the past that this type of pigeon
does not require a great deal of work to reach
peak condition. She got two inland races, a race
from penzance, three 40 mile tosses and into Les
Sables sitting 13 days with her first flight just
coming through. Her sire was a good blue cock,
2nd and 6th open Dinard. And a half brother to
my Miller Gold Cup winner. He was also brother
to my good red hen, 17th and 24th Nantes in two
very hard races. The dam of 3237 was my big red
hen, which won 1st Le Havre in '77' when there
were only 10 birds on the day. Nancy's dam is
a 1975 blue check hen purchased at Bob Dunlop's
clearance sale. She had flown the Penzance Y.B
National for Bob himself a King's Cup winner and
is a g-daughter of his winning pigeon.
advice to novices is to read all the articles
written by top fanciers, but studying them you
will find that they all contain the same message,
only in different words. They will advise you
to purchase late bred or flown youngsters from
a top flier, preferably in you own district, and
listen to his advice, not heeding the self appointed
experts who have never won a race worth talking
about. However, it is always worth remembering
that you can only buy a man's pigeons. You cannot
buy the man himself, the fancier who has mastered
the art of breeding good pigeons. It is my conviction
that unless one can master the science of breeding,
one can never stay at the top for long. You should
also remember that if a fancier is beating you
out of turn, it is only because you are allowing
him to do so, and you should look to and improve
of your own set up.
would also advise beginners not to purchase birds
from fanciers who do not even compete in the races
you expect to win, avoid at all costs third and
forth generation unflown stock, or stock birds
which have been looked up for a long time.
lot of young fanciers end up disappointed and
disillusioned with this type of pigeon.
Methods of training differ considerably from loft
to loft, but there again a beginner should hear
what the experienced fanciers from whom he purchased
his stock has to say on the matter, and then make
up his own mind as to what would be best for himself.
I would strongly urge all fanciers to attend,
if at all possible, the A.G.M of their respective
clubs and federations, and not to be afraid to
speak their minds for the betterment of the sport
in general. Listen carefully to what other people
have to say irrespective of who says it and then
act accordingly to one's own judgment. I have
been President of the Irish South Road Federation
for the passed five years and I would like to
thank publicity the committee members who have
helped me and the other officers to put the organization
on a sound financial footing.
success has been due in a large measure to a wonderful
spirit of cooperation, and it is my fervent wish
that the same spirit will continue to prevail
in the future.
conclude, I have won races at all distances over
the years, but to me there is nothing to compare
with the thrill of a pigeon arriving home from
a long distance race, whether a winner or not,
and I will never forget the sight of my small
red hen on the landing board on the early July
morning a worthy winner of the 1982 King's Cup.
Against that, of course, there are also the bitter
disappointments of sacrificing many good pigeons
in the supreme efforts of reaching the very top
in pigeon racing. Losses are inevitable.
I would like to thank the many fanciers who sent
congratulatory letters, telegrams and telephone
messages on the occasion of my great win.
gestures were much appreciated, but it would be
impossible to thank individually each well wisher.
Irish Pigeon Racing 1983
Re Printed - by Ray Delaney