ISRF Barleycove Open

Posted by admin On 17/05/2024 - 06:36:22

Barleycove Beach Open: A Feathered Fiesta

Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the latest debrief of the sixth race of the ISRF racing season, the Barleycove Beach Open! With 4777 birds taking to the skies from 239 members, this race was a spectacle of skill, speed, and sheer pigeon power.

On a fine day with not a drop of rain in sight and a cheeky southeast wind giving our feathered friends a gentle nudge, the stage was set for an exhilarating race. The average distance covered was 196 miles and 849 yards, making it a true test of endurance and strategy.

Top Flier: Harry McCann

The top spot was claimed by none other than the legendary Harry McCann of Ballymun RPC. With a winning velocity of 1494.380 yards per minute (ypm), Harry's pigeon, GB-23-D-065811, a one-year-old blue treasure, soared to victory. This talented young bird, a "T" in the loft and a titan in the air, covered 198 miles and 134 yards in a breathtaking 3 hours, 53 minutes, and 17 seconds.

Harry, known for his meticulous training and keen eye for talent, has been a stalwart of the Ballymun RPC. His success is no surprise to those who know him, as Harry combines traditional pigeon wisdom with innovative strategies. This win adds another feather to his already impressive cap, making Ballymun RPC proud.

The Challengers: Close but No Cigar

Trailing closely behind was S. O'Driscoll of Donnycarney, with his hen, IHU-23-S-053614, clocking in at 1491.299 ypm. This one-year-old blue beauty showed remarkable stamina over 200 miles and 195 yards, proving that the competition was fierce.

Liam Donnelly & Son from Finglas RPC took the third spot with their chequered cock, GB-23-A-058970, who flew 196 miles and 1130 yards at a velocity of 1489.841 ypm. Their performance showcases the strength of Finglas RPC in nurturing young talent.

A Nod to the Longest and Shortest

Special mentions go to Steven Fitzgerald from Trim RPC, who had the longest flight of the day. His bird, covering 203 miles and 550 yards, finished with a respectable velocity of 1339.954 ypm, securing the 293rd position. On the other end, Mr. John Callan from North Kildare flew the shortest distance of 180 miles and 1686 yards, placing 251st with a velocity of 1404.050 ypm. It’s a reminder that pigeon racing isn’t just about distance but also about strategy and speed.

The Top 10 Finishers

Harry McCann - Ballymun RPC - 1494.380 ypm
S. O'Driscoll - Donnycarney - 1491.299 ypm
Liam Donnelly & Son - Finglas RPC - 1489.841 ypm
Boothman & Son Jr - Blanchardstown - 1488.640 ypm
S. O'Driscoll - Donnycarney - 1486.996 ypm
Lee Duffy - Blanchardstown - 1483.757 ypm
Tommy & Jonathan Doyle - Celtic Invitation - 1479.405 ypm
S. O'Driscoll - Donnycarney - 1478.672 ypm
Gerry O Mara Family - Kildonagh - 1478.645 ypm
Gerry O Mara Family - Kildonagh - 1477.927 ypm

Wrapping Up the Race

As we close the chapter on this thrilling race, it’s clear that the Barleycove Open was a display of sheer brilliance from both the birds and their fanciers. With a mix of seasoned veterans and rising stars, the competition was as tough as an old bird’s beak.

Stay tuned for more results and remember, in pigeon racing, it’s not just about the flight, but the heart and strategy behind each wing. May the skies be clear and your returns swift.

Sam Wingate
Racing Journalist,

ISRF Skibbereen North 05-05-2024

Posted by admin On 10/05/2024 - 05:09:32

Thrilling Race from Skibbereen: An Analysis of ISRF's Top Performers 

The Irish South Road Federation's fifth race of the season took flight on a cloudy Sunday morning from Skibbereen North, with a north wind guiding the pigeons home. The race was held over from Saturday due to concern around weather conditions for the birds. The decision was given to liberate and on Sunday the skies were partially clouded and the temperature hovered around 10 degrees Fahrenheit, creating a challenging yet fair racing atmosphere for the 6,710 pigeons entered by 274 members.

Tommy & Jonathan Doyle of Celtic Invitation club soared to victory, setting the pace with an impressive velocity of 1239.384 yards per minute over a distance of 174 miles and 363 yards. Their triumph in this race not only demonstrates their expertise in pigeon racing but also highlights the exceptional quality of their birds.

The race spanned an average distance of 179 miles and 932 yards, with competitors navigating the shifting winds and varying terrains that are characteristic of the region. Despite the demanding conditions, the pigeons displayed remarkable resilience and determination.

The longest flight was undertaken by the TOM KAVANAGH    from Drogheda & District RPC, who's birds navigated a staggering 191 miles. Although the birds were placed 276, 278, 279 and 281, with an average velocity of 1076.61 yards per minute, their endurance and the dedication of their handlers deserve commendation for attempting such a Herculean task over a five hour flight.

New Technology

Angus Smyth from Ardee placed GPS rings on pigeons racing on the same day from Barleycove out of the South Central Federation liberated at 10:15am. There where 3 GPS rings sent out on the weekend. They went to the Carlow premier club - and congratulations to Reggie Condron on winning the club with his bird wearing the GPS ring. The incident involving one of Angus's GPS-tracked pigeons during the race from Barleycove illustrates the unpredictable nature of pigeon racing. One bird's extended stopover in a quarry for nearly 8 hours before resuming its journey home highlights the myriad factors that can influence a race outcome, from predators to exhaustion to distractions on the ground, all of which significantly impact a pigeon's behavior. The use of GPS technology in pigeon racing, as demonstrated by Angus Smyth, provides valuable insights into these variables and enhances the understanding of the challenges pigeons face during their races. 

Unveiling the Champions

Tommy & Jonathan Doyle from Celtic Invitation took the crown with their 3-year-old blue bar hen, clocking a velocity of 1239.384 yards per minute over 174 miles and 363 yards. Their hen's swift 4 hours, 7 minutes, and 23 seconds flight showcased not only speed but remarkable stamina, setting the standard for the competition.

Close on their heels were J Gaynor & Family of Tallaght & District RPC. Their 2-year-old cock flew 172 miles and 514 yards with a velocity of 1237.101 ypm, just -2.28 ypm behind the winner. The cock’s performance over 4 hours, 5 minutes, and 7 seconds highlighted the tight competition among the top contenders.

James Kelly, representing Rialto from Section G, secured third place with his 2-year-old chequer hen. Her journey over 174 miles and 897 yards at a velocity of 1233.730 ypm, and a total flight time of 4 hours, 8 minutes, and 57 seconds, demonstrated consistency and resilience under challenging conditions.

Insights into the Top Ten

The race saw a diverse range of participants, with both hens and cocks represented almost equally in the top ten. Notably, Cully & Grogan's year-old chequer hen from Finglas RPC flew 177 miles and 1,291 yards, reaching a velocity of 1230.248 ypm, emphasizing the potential of younger birds in the sport.

Hayden & Thorpe from Dublin North East showed their prowess with a 2-year-old blue cock flying the longest in the top ten at 181 miles and 1,324 yards. His velocity of 1226.627 ypm over 4 hours, 20 minutes, and 47 seconds, indicated the grit required for longer distances.

Interestingly, Mr. Jimmy Roberts from Dublin South West appeared twice in the top ten, with both entries being hens and showcasing near-identical performances. His entries navigated 174 miles and 579 yards, achieving velocities of 1226.622 and 1224.256 ypm, which speaks to the consistency in his loft's training and breeding.

Analyzing the Competitive Edge

The close velocities among the top racers highlight the intense competition and marginal differences that often decide the outcomes in pigeon racing. The difference of merely -15.13 ypm between the first and tenth places illustrates the high level of competition and the narrow margins that separate victory from defeat.

This race was a testament to the strategic planning, rigorous training, and exceptional care that fliers invest in preparing their pigeons. As we look forward to the remainder of the season, the performances at Skibbereen set a thrilling precedent, promising more excitement and nail-biting finishes in the races to come.

Congratulations to all participants, and especially to Tommy & Jonathan Doyle of Celtic Invitation, whose victory will be remembered as a highlight of this year's competition.

May the skies be clear and your returns swift.

Sam Wingate
Racing Journalist,

Skibbereen this coming Saturday, May 4, 2024

Posted by admin On 02/05/2024 - 05:18:22

ISRF Inland Old Bird Race - Skibbereen May 4th 2024

As the Irish South Road Federation  heads into the 5th race of the old bird season from historic bustling market town of Skibbereen this coming Saturday, May 4, 2024, the competitive spirit within the community is palpable. This race, not just a test of speed and endurance but also a measure of precision and preparation, will once again bring together the passionate enthusiasts of this time-honored sport.

The Significance of Skibbereen

Steeped in rich Irish history, Skibbereen, a town significant for its historical figures such as Gearóid O’Sullivan and General Michael Collins, provides a poignant backdrop for this weekend's contest. Skibbereen was the home town of the man who raised the Tricolour over the General Post Office in Dublin on Easter Monday in 1916 .  Gearóid O’Sullivan, was a teacher from a west Cork farm in Coolnagurrane, Skibbereen, a second cousin of General Michael Collins who had his last meal in the Eldon Hotel in Skibbereen before Collins himself was shot in an ambush later that evening in 1922. The town, with its deep historical roots connected to the McCarthy tribe and the O'Driscolls, adds a layer of narrative to the race, enriching the experience for both the fanciers and their supporters.

Race Day Conditions

Irish weather is unpredictable but according to the latest weather forecasts, the race day in Skibbereen is expected to offer the brightest and driest conditions, particularly favorable in the south and southwest where the race will take place. With temperatures peaking at 16 to 17 Celsius and light to moderate southwest to west winds, the conditions seem almost tailor-made for an exhilarating competition.

The camaraderie among the ISRF community is a cornerstone of these events. Fanciers from the various clubs involved, including leaders in the league such as Tallaght & District RPC, Finglas RPC, and the surging Ballymun Rpc, are set to demonstrate not just their competitive strategies but also their mutual respect and shared passion for pigeon racing. This spirit of camaraderie often translates into shared practices, exchange of tips, and hopefully celebrations post-race.

The anticipation building up to the race has seen fanciers engage in meticulous preparations, fine-tuning their birds' diets, conditioning regimes, and strategic planning based on the expected race day conditions. The focus is intense, with every participant aware of the narrow margins that can separate victory from defeat.

Spotlight on the Champions

Noteworthy is the leading flier, S. O'Driscoll from Donnycarney, who stands out with an impressive accumulation of points thus far. O'Driscoll's birds, known for their consistent performance, are a testament to rigorous training and a deep understanding of avian capabilities. His strategy, closely watched by competitors, may yet again set the standard for success in this race.

Dominance of S. O'Driscoll

Leading the Top Ten Flier League with a remarkable 1177 points, Sean O'Driscoll from Donnycarney has set a high benchmark for his competitors. His consistent performance across all races, including significant scores from Clonmel, Pilmore, and Castletown, demonstrates a deep understanding of race dynamics and exceptional bird conditioning. The question on everyone's mind is whether O'Driscoll can maintain this blistering pace throughout the season, especially with the upcoming race from Skibbereen—a location that posed challenges for him in the previous year, where he placed 82nd.

Chasing Pack

Trailing O'Driscoll are the Soulters from Tallaght & District RPC and the Gerry O'Mara Family from Kildonagh, who have amassed 913 and 814 points respectively. Each flier has their unique approach and strategy, showcasing the diverse talent within the ISRF. The Soulters and O'Mara have been close contenders, each displaying resilience and tactical acumen in navigating the varied race courses and conditions.

Strategic Outlook for Skibbereen

The upcoming race from Skibbereen is not just another race but a historical nod to the town's storied past and its significant figures like Gearóid O’Sullivan. The race conditions seem favorable, especially with the weather promising to be brightest and driest in the southwest. This race could be a pivotal moment for fliers like E Barry from Dublin North East and Harry McCann from Ballymun RPC, who are also in the top ten and look to close the gap in points or possibly overtake the leaders.

Performance Review and Anticipation

The current league standings reflect not just the competitive spirit of the participants but also the intense preparations that go into each race. From dietary adjustments and rigorous training flights to strategic rest periods before race days, each aspect is meticulously planned. For instance, the significant gains made by Ballymun RPC in the last race, pulling a whopping 690 points, have stirred the competitive pot, promising an exciting race at Skibbereen.

Reflecting on the previous year’s race from Skibbereen, the competitive edge was sharply illustrated by J. Donnelly & Son, who clinched the top spot with a velocity of 1653.507 yards per minute.  This historical performance, coupled with the current leaders' strategies, sets the stage for a thrilling contest where past records could either be defended or shattered.

Celebrating the real Top Performers

The top birds and fanciers from the ISRF are not just participants; they are champions of a legacy. Each race is an opportunity to add to their careers in this demanding sport. As we look towards this weekend’s race, the achievements of these birds, coupled with the dedication of their fanciers, promise another thrilling chapter in ISRF’s history. Leading the ISRF Ring League is a testament to elite performance under pressure. Currently at the top of the chart is a remarkable Blue Pied 2-year-old hen, identified by ring number IHU-22-S-096163 from Tallaght & District RPC, managed by Best and Murphy. This hen has showcased exceptional speed and endurance, accumulating 151 points through standout performances, including an impressive 11th place finish at Pilmore and a commendable 40th place from Castletown.

The Elite Group

Just trailing by a narrow margin are the birds IHU-23-S-006157 and IHU-22-S-000600, both holding 149 points and tying for second place. These birds, flown by Pat Byrne and Family of Sarsfield RPC and J Gaynor and Family of Tallaght & District RPC respectively, demonstrate the high-caliber breeding and training that the ISRF clubs are known for. Their consistent top finishes help elevate the competitive standards of the league.

Notable Achievements

Other notable birds making the top ten include GB-21-V-049337 flown by J and P Soulters, and GB-23-D-065975 piloted by Peter Kelly and Son of Ballymun RPC, each bringing their unique traits and competitive edge to the races. These pigeons, with their distinct ring numbers and club affiliations, illustrate the diversity and depth of talent within the federation.

Key to Success

The key to these birds' success lies in the meticulous attention to their training, health, and diet, overseen by their dedicated fanciers. The pigeons have been conditioned to face various race distances and weather conditions, showcasing not only physical stamina but also mental tenacity. The ability of these birds to navigate and home with such precision speaks volumes about their breeding and the expertise of their handlers. Fanciers share insights, celebrate each other’s successes, and remain committed to the welfare and performance of their birds. This supportive environment not only fosters competitive excellence but also ensures the sport's integrity and the well-being of the pigeons.

Looking forward to the season progress, all eyes will be on these top performers to see if they can maintain their lead or if new champions will emerge from the flock. The anticipation builds not just for the outcomes of the races but also for witnessing these incredible birds in action, each race further cementing their status as not just competitors, but as the heart and soul of pigeon racing.

As the race day approaches, the entire  This race is not just about the speed in the air but also about the spirit on the ground. As the countdown to this weekend's ISRF race from Skibbereen ticks away, the anticipation among the pigeon racing community could very well be measured in heartbeats per minute! The stage is set in the historic town, where the ISRF community is buzzing with excitement and hopeful anticipation. The dedication of the fanciers and the extraordinary capabilities of their birds are set to be showcased against the backdrop of Skibbereen’s historical significance and favorable weather conditions.

With Sean O’Driscoll leading the flier league like a general leading his troops, and a two-year-old Blue Pied hen strutting around the top of the bird league with the air of a prima donna, the stage is set for plenty of drama. The weather gods seem to be in a benevolent mood too, promising the best of Irish sunshine over Skibbereen —well, as much sunshine as you can expect in Ireland, which means the birds might not need to swim their way back home this time!

Let's not forget the underbirds—those plucky competitors not quite at the top yet but very keen to get there. Will they overturn the pecking order? Or will O’Driscoll's squad continue to rule the roost for the club leagues ? With the winds set fair and the skies as clear as they ever get on this emerald isle, we’re in for a weekend of high drama, low passes, and possibly a few feathery photo finishes.

So, grab your binoculars, hold onto your hats, and may the best pigeon win—just remember, in the world of pigeon racing, every bird is just a tailwind away from being a winner. Onwards to Skibbereen—where history waits and new legends will take flight!

May the skies be clear and your returns swift.

Sam Wingate
Racing Journalist,


ISRF Rules 2023 draft

Posted by admin On 20/03/2024 - 04:36:09

Please see the Draft ISRF Rules 2023 for member review, including - 

  • ISRF Official Rules



Posted by admin On 03/02/2024 - 04:32:21


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Looking forward to the 2024 racing season.

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