A SHARED SUCCESS: The Hagan, Rowney & Donaldson teams of Portadown.
Made a quick visit after finding out that two very successful racing partnerships in the Portadown area were flying to the same location, in fact the same set of lofts. I previously arranged to meet Martin Hagan at the Edgarstown Clubrooms on Saturday morning at 8.00am, then I would follow him around to the lofts which are sited at the Ballyoran Terrace part of Portadown. On arrival at the lofts I was firstly introduced to Phillip Rowney who races in partnership with Martin as (Hagan & Rowney) in the Drumcree HPS. Also present was Phillips 5 year old grandson Ryan who was hanging out with the men, also present in the same garden was Roy Donaldson who I had previously met a few times he quickly introduced nephews Graham and Gary who form the formidable partnership of R & G & G Donaldson racing in the Portadown Invitation. Now this chance meeting all came about following the Irish National Flying Club Yearling National which was held on Thursday from Sennen Cove, the loft of Hagan & Rowney which is shared with the Donaldson Team all with different coloured marker rings finished 1st North Section, 2nd OpenINFC on a velocity of 942ypm. So now that I had finally met up with more than I had imagined, I set about finding out what systems the large work force were using because it just wasn’t a 2nd Open on Thursday the loft has also seen two other 2nd Open pigeons in as many weeks. Hagan & Rowney split Ronnie Williamson’s two very good arrivals to finish 2nd Open from Pilmore Beach with the NIPA 3 weeks ago, and the same loft has produced a 2nd Open NIPA for the R & G & G Donaldson team from Talbenny in the last fortnight. So all in all 3 times 2nd Open in as many weeks, now the task searching out of the group for the pigeon man, or the one who thought was the pigeon man, no only kidding to be perfectly fair all have had experience before as Phillip Rowney raced with his brother as Rowney Brothers in Drumcree from the very same location were the lofts are today. As for Martin he raced with his father previously under the name of Bobby Hagan & Son of Drumcree, Roy Donaldson always struck me as a man not to be messed about so have no fears about the racing education that behold his nephews Gary & Graham. Must be paying off already as Roy was telling me that the Black hen that finished 2nd Open from Talbenny was picked from a basket of 20 in Belgium last year by Gary. All the boys have made a point of visiting Belgium for the last four years and have enjoyed great levels of success from what they have brought back, in fact I know that a few other members from the Portadown Club have sought their services in selecting pigeons for them in Belgium also with success.
Martin and Phillip have only started to race pigeons in partnership last year joining the Drumcree Soc in time to race Y/Birds and what success they had finishing with 6 x 1st Clubs, not an easy area to win in never mind dominating like this. It just surprises me how they go about the management because obviously each week they are out to beat each other but yet share the same lofts, must be like M15 or the secret service with regards all the extra’s, nothing was forthcoming on supplements anyhow but perhaps I should have interviewed them as two racing teams separately I might have got more info!
Roy and nephews Gary and Graham have been in the game of pigeon racing a bit longer 4 years in fact and have amassed 32 x 1st Clubs and 2 x 1st Sections, how’s that for racing? Hagan and Rowney for their part have recorded 8 x 1st Clubs, twice 2nd Open and a 1st North Section with the INFC isince Y/Birds last year.
The old bird teams are raced on a multiple systems with Widowhood and Roundabout the preferred choice by both sets of fanciers; with an abundance of extra hens at the start of the 2008 season they opted to try the Jealousy System with excellent success. They are fed a combination of the three leading widowhood mixtures currently available on the market, but all agree they are getting all very similar in the search for ultimate quality. During the start of the week, the team will be fed on Gerry Plus. The would get around 1 & ½ ounces per pigeon per day fed over a couple of intervals obviously with so many fanciers as the distance increases so does the feeding and both sets of partners would opt for the use of peanuts sparingly. Nothing extra special about the supplements but then the garden had ears, they opt for Cider Vinegar and Yogurt at least once per week, and the lofts will always have a clean supply of Grit and minerals daily.
Tossing is mostly centered on the lead up to the start of the O/Bird programme and once racing has started training would be confined to around the loft, on the lead up to the channel events they then would be trained via the basket.
Y/Birds are darkened from 7 at night till 7 in the morning and this will cease towards the end of the second week in June, tossing would then commence around the 21st of June from an initial distance of 10 miles, from here on in they will endure a intensive training schedule that will include twice per day when weathers permits up the road, when the ultimate distance of 50 miles is reached they will get this 4 times and will be brought back until the 18 mile mark and will stay their for the rest of the Y/Bird season which will see when racing commences still four times a week up the road. Feeding of the youngsters is Versa Lega Y/B UK and Junior O mixed again this would be measured and the partnerships have experimented a bit with depurative and find that when fed in the mornings the youngsters fly far better around the lofts ranging for up to an hour at a time. Supplements are just the same as the O/Bird racers with Lettuce the only other additive each week. The Y/Birds are treated for everything upon leaving the nest with the annual influx of Belgium youngsters left until one week before treatment starts allowing them time to settle stress free. In selecting the youngsters both partnerships get one from each nest each, with coloured marker rings to distinguish what’s what?
A very interesting and very competitive loft containing two different partnerships of fanciers but equally competing against each other and with the knowledge combined, are proving a force to be reckoned with in the local Portadown area and beyond. Well done to all concerned with this winning set-up and I look forward to typing yet, many more times the names R & G & G Donaldson and Hagen & Rowney.
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