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‘TINY TIM’ wins INFC Skibbereen Y/B National

Kiera & Timmy Mawhinney of Donacloney holding a couple of their prized winners from this years fantastic campaign. The stock loft is not out of place with its very spacious aviary for the 30 odd prisoners that it with holds.

This small Y/Bird loft just measuring a mere 8ft by 6ft is responsible for much of the success of 2007 with 7 x 1st Clubs and a pile of other positions obtained by birds flying to this small set up. The main O/B Roundabout loft measures some 16ft in length divided into three sections.

The final race in the pigeon racing calendar was flown from Skibbereen on Saturday 22nd of September with the birds liberated at 8.30am in a Strong S/Westerly wind expectations were of a fast race. With a fantastic final race enjoyed by the NIPA the previous week tell tale signs were very evident that the INFC were going to enjoy a large turnout for the final test of the year. The 4,011 birds the highest entry in eight years were ring marked in Lisburn on Thursday afternoon/early evening with the transporter setting of for its destination shortly before 9.00pm. Earlier during the week I had sent an e-mail to Kiera Mawhinney looking to come down to their lofts early on Sunday morning to do a loft profile as the partnership which includes husband Timmy have had a wonderful season racing with the mighty NIPA. With no reply to the e-mail I had a chance to nail Timmy at the ring marking more so to find out if they were in fact still using that same email address, letting him know that I had sent an e-mail earlier during the week he told me he would check when he got home. As a member of the INFC Committee I got a chance with work to take Thursday as my day off to attend the ring marking to do my bit as the saying goes and with a massive entry Timmy was home long before me but when I finally returned home he had replied to my e-mail sent earlier in the week. He quoted the following “many thanks, yes Sunday morning around 9.00am is fine with Kiera and myself although don’t know why you are doing a loft profile on us as we haven’t won anything yet and he states unless you think we are going to win the NATIONAL” Well I can confirm now he has never typed a truer word, the husband and wife team of T & K Mawhinney are in fact the winners of this years INFC Skibbereen North Inland Y/B National.

What a year the partnership have had, although Timmy served a winning apprenticeship with his father for some years when they enjoyed eight 1st Section G Awards as well as winning six Area Liberations. But with both seeking different directions with the birds Timmy decided to call it a day in 2004, taking a year out from the racing scene and deciding to give the showing a go, and as many will know just not here but across the water this man knows how to show a pigeon. Only last year Timmy and Kiera brought back the Best Opposite Sex Award from the Blackpool Show of the Year. The husband and wife team moved into their Dromore Road home some two years ago and just recently celebrated their first Wedding Anniversary a few weeks ago. Having settled into their new home they set about joining the local club which turned out to be Donacloney HPS. Last year in their first year of racing Y/Birds the loft finished an impressive 3rd in the over-all Top Prize-winner list, this year with an excellent degree of success across the board that includes 7 x 1st Clubs in the Y/Birds the Mawhinney loft only into its second year of racing looks set to be named top prize winners with the Donacloney HPS for 2007. A fantastic achievement as Donacloney HPS has been a very powerful club for as long as I can remember. Some would say that Timmy has never raced so well since starting to work for Richard Donnelly namely the Donnelly Bros of Newry, but be rest assured this is a very astute individual who knows exactly what type of pigeon he is after to do the job required. While at the house on Sunday morning as well as receiving about 20 phone calls in the time I was there Richard Donnelly was one of the first visitors to arrive with a card I might add to congratulate the couple and as Richard quoted ’If you keep knocking on the door sooner or later it will open’. Excellent phrase as that’s exactly what the partnership have been doing all year just not winning 1st Club but at the top end of the Section result and pushing to the summit of the NIPA Open. I recall in the Barley Cove O/B National with the NIPA this year the loft was just beat to 1st Open by Leslie Madden of Coleraine.

Now about the pigeon in question ’Tiny Tim’ a Blue Cheq cock he was clocked 12.12hrs after losing around a couple of minutes flying 235 miles, recalling that he was only organized and about to light up a cigarette when good friend Simon Millar of Randalstown noticed a bird diving in towards the loft, Timmy told me the bird hit the top of the O/B Loft with a thud and it took him a good minute to get his bearings about him before finally entering the loft. This same cock was 3rd Section G & 21st Open last week in the NIPA Y/B National from Rosscarbery. He also finished 4th Club at the start of the season from the 2nd Area Liberation from Tullamore, beat that day by loft mates. He was sent sitting around 22 days on eggs having been slipped a third egg on Wednesday evening and the wee hen he was mated to also returned from the National being the third bird to enter the loft. This hen previously finished 6th Section G & 31st Open from the NIPA Talbenny Y/B National. The breeding of the National winner is Eddie Murray Soontjen on the Dam’s side when mated to a Wily Van Herck cock gifted from P & J Boal of Dromore HPS, Philip & Joe Boal have the cream of this family at their lofts in Dromore.

Other fanciers who are inadvertently linked to this years success include Simon Millar who gifted the partnership a pair of Hartog birds that have proved their weight in gold, also Todd Hunter who sent over a batch of sixteen Busschaert youngsters last year for the partnership to race with Timmy admitting that these are the birds you expect to get on a hard day. Eddie Murray has been instrumental in a lot of the original breeding as when Timmy parted ways in his previous racing partnership he took his stock birds to Eddie’s house were they were mated best to best with Eddie’s own birds with both fanciers splitting the youngsters, much of today’s success is coming from those said youngsters, Timmy also purchased a couple of pair of Van De Were pigeons a couple of years ago and these are also cementing themselves as superior stock within the stock loft, producing winner after winner. Timmy praises his father’s ability highly as a good loft man and racer who had taught him many valued lessons along the rocky road to success, although he admits a lot of what he is doing himself now wouldn’t be allowed if he were still racing in partnership with his father. Timmy’s wife Kiera is every fanciers dream an absolute tower of strength around the lofts and that female enthusiasm obviously rubs off on the birds.

The Mawhinney’s believe in small quality teams rather than racing big teams to gain success, Timmy & Kiera started the season with 36 darkness youngsters and have 30 left, excellent flying retaining an excellent amount that have all earned their place over the winter months. The old bird season was completed with 26 pigeons raced on the Roundabout system. Just getting back to the Darkness youngsters Timmy’s hours of darkness are from 10.00pm at night until 2.00pm in the afternoon, this time scale geared to suit his working needs. Stock birds number around the 30 mark, with no fools kept, even though he still has the Sire and Dam of this National winner in his O/Bird race team that’s were they will stay he confirmed. The housing of these quality birds are as follows the Roundabout team are housed in a 16ft x 9ft loft divided into three sections these are split right up the front with a 3ft walkway, two of the three sections are used to hold 18 hens nine in each with eight cocks kept in the final section. A small team of Darkness youngsters is all really the partnership can cater for as the loft to hold the winning team is 8ft x 6ft with the Pipa style Y/B boxes although Timmy had these made specially to the size that would fit widowhood front had he have bred more cocks than hens this year in the pretence of keeping the cocks in the same loft that they had raced in as youngsters and possibly starting Widowhood next year also as another alternative. Stock birds have the enjoyment of a 16ft x 8ft with a 16ft by 8ft by 6ft aviary attached to the front.

Feeding is down to Versele-Laga obtained from Beattie’s namely Special Widowhood with Bosmolen Depurative during the early stages of the week, up until the distance goes beyond 150 miles then the pigeon both old and young would receive only Special Widowhood all week long. The Y/Birds are fed on Peas up until a fortnight before the commencement of racing when they would go onto the same system that was adhered to with the O/Bird team. Tossing both old and young is very similar with both having around 20 tosses up until the first race, they will be flagged around the house an hour morning and night this continues when they have started racing with training confined to a couple of days a week which will exclude a Monday. As for supplements very few are used especially in the water, with most being administered with the corn. Garlic Oil is used twice per week over the corn with Matrix hand fed during Wednesday and Thursday with the birds given the option of eating as much as they like on a Friday. The only supplement in the water is Red Cell a 10ml dose per 2lt. Something that Timmy continues to do with the youngsters is given them a mock race from Navan prior to the official season starting, his would entail putting them in crates being kept in the garage over night with transportation done in the morning, if a good sized batch returns in one go, that indicates he isn’t to far away from were he wants them at the start of a season.

Something very similar is applied in the training of young pigeons for the Show Pen with around 20 pens erected in his garage the Y/Birds would be trained in these a few times prior to them being entered into shows, nothing goes un noticed with this partnership and every thought is put in to the pigeons from start to finish.

Timmy and Kiera have had some season in only their second year of racing as a partnership with the NIPA and INFC they have also dominated most of the Breeder/Buyer events that they competed in, they topped the Newry Breeder/Buyer winning £500 also topped the Carrick one lifting the same amount of prize money, they also topped the Open in the Marie Currie Cancer Race and should have won the Larne Breeder/Buyer but for a bad trap, in all the partnership have won around £4,500 this year in prize money. Getting back to the pigeon that won the Marie Currie Cancer Race he is named ’Top Kear’ re. the (T & K) of the partnership. This Blue Bar cock of Beverdam and Van De Were breeding is being put forward by the partnership for Y/B of the Year. Keep an eye for that bird over the next few weeks to see if this loft has yet more success to come that would truly crown an extraordinary year.

On finishing I can only congratulate the winning couple on what is some achievement only into their second year of racing, a flash in the pan you might say. No Chance - Roll on 2008.



Adie McCormick
Irelands Own Pigeon Auctions
Tel. 028 92 604778

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