This year we unfortunately had to bring our final forward one day . The forecast on Wednesday for the Sunday was very poor with no possibility of a liberation . A decision had to be made , so Sean contacted two third parties who were or had been very experienced Race Controllers of a major organisation and their advice was to go for a Saturday race . Another local contact was sought for his advice and all five of us were of the same opinion that Saturday was our best option . This caused us another problem with our Prize Presentation Function and after a lot of consideration Sean decided to cancel it . This was a major disappointment to a lot of our patrons , but with most people racing their own pigeons and the uncertainty of how many were going to attend the decision was made . We hope that you all understand that these two decisions were not taken lightly . The interests of the pigeons is and always will be our priority .
Friday evening catching , scanning and loading unto transporter commenced . Willie set up the system ,Kenny Glass had the unenviable task of catching all the pigeons , Sean examined every pigeon thoroughly, I scanned them over the pad , Matt Kelly put them unto the transporter and Paul O’Connor oversaw the whole process . Donny Dysart our convoyer arrived sharp at 7 pm and the pigeons were on their way . I personally was mighty impressed with their condition and Sean who is hard to please , agreed .
Donny watered the youngsters early next morning and left the drinkers on in preparation for liberation . Contact was made with all organisations liberating in Ireland that day , line of flight information accessed and in conversation with Donny on site , a decision to liberate at 8 am was made . This was done so in beautiful sunny conditions with a light South to South East wind . This wind was to increase to moderate on the journey home .The youngsters as they have being doing all year , took a half circle and headed North for home .
At the lofts there were fewer in attendance to witness the arrival of the birds , which was to be expected considering a lot of patrons were racing their own pigeons that day. Those that could attend waited in eager anticipation of the first arrivals . Whilst doing so and during the birds arrival we all enjoyed the hospitality of the NCC . The usual burgers , sausages , sandwiches , pastries and refreshments were available .
Surprisingly the first youngster arrived on its own after 4 hrs 48 mins to claim our first Prize . This fine blue cock was owned by Peter Lucas , an ever present with NCC . This youngster is a Jeff Greenaway x Owen Kirwan cross .This pair are responsible for breeding Peter other offspring to have success in other OLR’s including hotspot wins and many placements .
Second home 50 seconds behind was to Tony Tobyjanski , another faithful supporter of NCC . Unfortunately Tony’s Flights were booked for Early Sunday and he missed the arrival of his youngster . This bird secured for its Breeders Alpine Lofts , our first venture home prize of £ 1000 . Francis Corcoran supplied these fine Luc Cueleman pigeons and indeed Tony was also the proud winner of our Two Bird Average with his second entry home in a commendable 26 th position . This was another of the Luc Cueleman venture youngsters .
In third spot comes a new entrant to NCC , Mossview , J Milliken and Grandson Mark . These lads are a top local partnership and as well as third this pigeon secured our Ace Pigeon award .This youngster comes from a strong line of pigeons that have won right out to St Malo . The sire being from A&R McAuley ( Soontjens ) and the dam from one of NIPA’s finest fanciers Danny Dixon’s Miss Perfect Van Loon lines x Steel & McNeill Van Loons . The Ace pigeon is an award that is coveted and extremely hard to win and in doing so this year this youngster attained the highest finish ever in an NCC Final .
Fourth goes to Charlie’s Angels ( Charlie McCrudden ) , bred by his son Terence , who has a fine record in the NCC , being our Ace Pigeon Winner 2014 and other success both in the final and Hotspots . Terence also bred the pigeon that was 2nd Europa Classic a few years back . The fourth placed youngster is bred from his Ghislan Donders Belgium lines of the 740 , 22 x 1st and prolific breeder x with a pigeon off M Mullholland which was 13 th NCC Final last year , again being through the 740 lines of Ghislan Donders .
Tickers Team , ( Tommy Grattan and Mr Stukey ) our 2015 Champions weigh in this year with a commendable fifth place . This is another partnership who support the NCC year in year out and this prize winning youngster is sired by a Jos Joosen who in turn was mated to a Reedyk-Jongehryg hen who have being breeding the goods for Tommy .
Sixth place this year goes to Joe’s Jets , my granddaughters , who were 6th in 2015 with a youngster presented to them by J Hall & Son Portaferry , 3rd 2016 when in a syndicate with R Herron & Son , top flyers in Houghton Fed and Washington Celtic .This year again this youngster was one of the raffle youngsters bred by J Hall & Son Portaferry . This one is a Hartog bred off John’s best winning lines which have brought John great success at the highest level including NIPA open wins .John is a past winner of the NCC and there is always one of his in the prizes every year .
In seventh we have a venture youngster bred by Danny Dixon and purchased by John and Jeremy McDowell ( Triple J ) . The Triple J is a tribute to their late father Jack . This youngster is off Cousins 161 lines x P O,Connor’s Cousins 278 lines and Bertie Fletcher lines . As you can see , all the best of the Van Wildemeerch breeding .
Eighth place sees another raffle venture pigeon make the prizes . Peter Lyttle bought this one when we offered them up for sale as time had run out to have another Raffle before the First Hotspot . Bred by K Parsons ( Hofkens UK ) and containing the best of the Soontjens lines through the sire Silver Blue , top racer and breeder . Silver Blue won when racing 1st Section 2nd Open UNC Lillers and 1st , 2nd and 3rd Fed in other races . The dam is Soontjens through Nesbitt & Small’s Special Pair . She is a full sister to Decka Lamb’s top racer who has won 5x 1st Club , 6x 2nd Club , 3x 1st Fed and 2x 2nd Fed .
Ninth prize is taken by Whiterock Rockets ( Johnny Porter ) . Johnny is another who is ever present in the NCC and his youngster is off Bond & Diamond crossed with a bird from P O,Neill . These two birds were 72nd and 52nd YB Nat respectively .
Tenth this year is M Rabbett & Son ( Ballygrove Lofts ). First time entrants and in the prizes and also 7th Ace Pigeon , this fine youngster’s Sire was a gift from Mickey Browne Derry who purchased it off Mr & Mrs Guenther & Son Scotland , Engles /Meulmans . He is breeding winners right through to Penzance for Michael . The dam was purchased at R Witheroe’s sale and is Leo Van Rijn / Janseen bred by Foster& Larkham Newtownabbey . A son of this hen has been 21 st NCC Final .
Team Spirit ( Reggie Thompson , Cyril and Hilary Beattie ) claim eleventh spot with one whose sire was gifted to Hilary by Danny Dixon . Dam is off Davy Hutchinson’s Soontjens lines . Cyril and Hilary are our Feed Sponsors and are always at hand for support and advice .
Our final prize this year goes to one of the top OLR racers in the UK , Cookstown Sizzlers , ( Glen Smith and Karl Murphy ) . Past winners of both the NCC and WDW , Hotspot wins and recently 5th WDW prove the quality of their pigeons . This youngsters nestmate has won 2 x 1st for Glenn .
The NCC is a venture that can’t physically be managed by one person , so Sean has asked me to give a special mention to the following for their help this year . I will start with the man who holds the whole venture together , William Bond . Willie is involved in all aspects of the NCC , from the hardest to the most menial task . Willie is tireless in his efforts to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible . Others who this year have been a major factor in helping to get the ship back on course are Paul O’Connor who helps in any way he can , especially with his posts and photographs on the NCC FB site . Matt Kelly , a new member of the team , who is ever reliable and always willing and able to help . Kenny Glass as usual does whatever is asked of him . Darren ( Burger Man ) Tosh for his culinary skills . Jim Branniff , just a phone call away if needed to help in any way . Artie O’Hanlon who oversees the clocking process in the hotspots and Final . Big John Edgar , Dominic Diamond and Norman Bradley for their help with transport duties in the Hotspots . Donny Dysart Convoyer for this years final . Jimmy McSeveney and Michael Rabbett for posting results to FB as quickly as the pigeons were arriving . Michael for stepping in to do the Livestream when unfortunately Jimmy due to racing his own pigeons was not available . Cyril and Hillary Beattie ,our feed sponsors . To you all Sean sends his thanks and appreciation for all the help that you provide .
Finally to all whose unswerving loyalty to our venture and our newcomers to the NCC , we express our heartfelt thanks .