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Crehan & O’Connor - Manchester (UK) ‘Really Making the Feathers Fly’

Over the last few years yet another formidable partnership has emerged to compete with the leading fanciers of the North West of England. Over the last couple of years the partnership of Crehan & O’Connor has flown brilliantly as their results will confirm in this ultra competitive area of pigeon racing.

The fanciers that Crehan & O’Connor race against reside within the three counties of Cheshire, Lancashire and Cumbria which if you care to look at a map is a very sizeable area. The partners themselves are situated in Salford which sits in the heart of Greater Manchester. This is the location where the much famed artist Lowery plied his trade with his world acclaimed pictures of matchstick people. It is an industrial area, where many of the most fiercely competitive lofts are located and this description fits Crehan & O’Connor’s location to a tee.

  The senior partner is John Crehan who is a young man who has had pigeons in his blood since his father, Tommy, bought him a pair of  pigeons which were kept in a ‘rabbit hutch’ at the tender age of  9. This I was told was to keep his son’ out of trouble’. As often is the case the birds home expanded and as the loft grew so did Father’s interest and so they flew the pigeons in partnership as Crehan & Son. As he got older John lost interest in the pigeons leaving Tommy to race on his own which he did with no little success I am told.

   In 2003 John’s appetite for pigeons was re-ignited and a partnership was formed with his friend Andy O’Connor. The boys made the very best of starts by going to see Les Green of the well famed Wall, Lunt & Green  team. Les told them that if they wished to race seriously that they must obtain the ‘very best stock’ that they could afford and that in Les’ opinion there were no finer source than Peter v d Merwe who was flying with great success in his native country of Holland. John told me that this was the finest advice which he had ever been given and that he will always be grateful to Les for his sound opinion. From this birds were purchased from Peter and this was the base that the loft of Crehan & O’Connor was built upon.

  With the v d Merwe pigeons in their loft the partners started winning from day one. Over the next seven seasons results have been scoured to find where the very best bloodlines are housed and pigeons from Gerard Koopman, the Verkerk’s, Dirk van Dyck and Harm  Vredeveld have been added to their own colony, always though with the knowledge that only the best lines were good enough. This is the belief that John has always stuck to religiously. A quick look at the results that partners have achieved over the years bearing ample testimony to Les Green’s original advice.

  I believe that it would be very difficult for me to select individual birds to highlight as Johntold me that birds from all of their chosen  sources have played their part in the Crehan & O’Connor success story, which has seen 26 Federation wins and no less than 10 combine victories with birdages of up to and over 5,000 birds. Without any fears or contradictions this is pigeon racing of the highest calibre.

  It would though be folly for me not to select just one pair of pigeons, which I feel readers should be made aware of. They are made up of the Peter v d Merwe cock ‘Treble 8’ and his hen, ‘723’ which is a daughter of  Vredeveld’s famed pigeon ‘ Frysian Flag’. This couple are responsible for 18 x 1st prize-winners and countless grand children which have won with birdages as big as 5,394 entrants. Some say that ‘Golden couples’ don’t exist but how other could one describe such as this pair?. I know that John considers that ‘Treble 8’ is the finest Peter v d Merwe breeding cock in the U.K. This is an opinion shared by many    v d Merwe enthusiasts and with ‘Treble 8’s’ C.V. who would doubt his belief?.

   Please don’t think that the success of the loft has been dependent upon this one pair as nothing could be further from the truth as  has been explained many of the introductions from all the affore mentioned sources have played a significant part in the Crehan & O’Connor success story.
  Out of personal interest I asked John what was so special about the Peter v d Merwe pigeons?. He said that they were great ‘All rounders’ and well capable of flying with success at short, middle and the longer distances up to 450 miles (700 kms). Obviously every fanciers ideal pigeons. This explains why in the course of my loft visits I am hearing about some exceptional results with v d Merwe pigeons.

I would now like to highlight a few of the lofts finest achievements.  These include winning the Altrincham federation four times in successive weeks. If you think that is exceptional, what about  the occasion when the loft won 1st 2nd 3rd  6th 13th 16th  and 21st combine from a cross channel race at a distance of 358 miles (nearly 600 kilometres) with 5,354 pigeons in a race from Fougeres Truly a result most could only dream about.

   In 2010 during the whole of the old bird racing season and the first two young bird races up to this date the pigeons of Crehan and O’Connor never failed to finish in the top 1% of the combines result and they have already won 6 x 1st federation and 4 x 1st combine.  This is world class racing and surely the food of legends.
 I suppose many will believe these results must have been supported by a huge army of pigeons, when in fact there is a team of 20 cocks and hens flown on the widowhood system.  These are coupled in early January and are allowed to rear a nest of youngsters. Before the race birds have been sittting for 7 days on their second round of eggs, these eggs are removed and the birds are on widowhood. The hard work then begins with multiple training flights up to 20 miles.  John is most grateful to a silent partner Dave Hulmes who often takes the birds on these prep flights, this enables John to be at eh home end to welcome the birds back.  The feeding is a good sound quality widowhood mixture and Depurative is given in the early part of the week.  That, says John, is just about it, nothing fancy it’s the birds that count.  Quality pigeons will achieve quality results and Crehan and O’Connor’s results reflect that they possess world class stock.  Fanciers would be wise to follow in their proven footsteps.

Some highlights from 2004 – 2010:

WOLLASTON 1.2.4 249 BIRDS
WOLLASTON 1.2.5 1763 BIRDS
KEMPSEY 1.2 220 BIRDS
KEMPSEY      1.3 1874 BIRDS
KEMPSEY      1.2.3.4 268 BIRDS
KEMPSEY      1.2.3.4 1782 BIRDS
CHELTENHAM   1.2.3.4.5 299 BIRDS
CHELTENHAM   2.4.6.8.10 1869 BIRDS
CHELTENHAM   1.2.3 292 BIRDS 
CHELTENHAM   1.2.3.4.5.6.7 136 BIRDS
CHELTENHAM   1.2.5.6.7.8.9 1002 BIRDS
CHELTENHAM   1.5.6 236 BIRDS 
CHELTENHAM   1.17.21 1858
YEOVIL       2.3.4.5.6 353 BIRDS 
YEOVIL       3.4.5.7.8 1946 BIRDS
PORTLAND     1.2.3 137 BIRDS
PORTLAND     2.3.4 1027
WOLLASTON    1.2.4 293 BIRDS
WOLLASTON    2.4.8 1818 BIRDS
KEMPSEY      1.4 303 BIRDS
CHELTENHAM   1.3 316 BIRDS
CHELTENHAM   1.12 1781
CHELTENHAM   1. 3200 BIRDS
CHELTENHAM   1.2.3 373 BIRDS
YEOVIL       1.3 353 BIRDS
CHELTENHAM   1. 161 BIRDS
WOLLASTON    1.2.3.4.5.6.7.8.9.10.11 448 BIRDS
WOLLASTON    1.2.3.4.5.13.14.15.16.17.18. 1508 BIRDS
KEMPSEY      1.2.3.5.6.7. 406 BIRDS
KEMPSEY      1.2.3.5.6.7 1592 BIRDS
CHELTENHAM   1.3.5.6 135 BIRDS
CHELTENHAM   1.2.3.4.6.7.8.9.10 135 BIRDS
CHELTENHAM   1.2.3.4.6.7.8.9.10 1016 BIRDS
WOLLASTON    2.3.4.5 199 BIRDS
WOLLASTON    2.3.4.5 637 BIRDS
CHELTENHAM   1.2.3 202 BIRDS
CHELTENAHM   1.2.3.4 299 BIRDS
CHELTENHAM   1.2.3.5 1558 BIRDS
MANGOTSFIELD 1.2. 140 BIRDS
WOLLASTON    1.2.3.4 187 BIRDS
WOLLASTON    1.2.3.5 FED 710 BIRDS
MANGOTSFIELD 1.2.7.8 165 BIRDS
MANGOTSFIELD 1.5.11.12 1055 BIRDS
YEOVIL       1.2.3.4 64 BIRDS
PORTLAND     1.2.3.4 72 BIRDS
PORTLAND     1.2.3.5 409 BIRDS
PORTLAND     1.2.3.11 1811 BIRDS
PORTLAND     1.3 299 BIRDS
PORTLAND     2.5 1747
WOLLASTON    1,6 183 BIRDS
WOLLASTON    1ST 919 BIRDS 2ND COMBINE 2892 BIRDS
CHELTENHAM   1,2,3 966
CHELTENHAM   1,2,3 2479 BIRDS
MANGOTSFIELD 1,2,3,4 (TAKING 1ST 4 IN 2 CLUBS) 91 birds and 54 birds.
MANGOTSFIELD 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 675 BIRDS
FOURGERES    1st, 2nd, 3rd, 6th, 13th, 16th, 21st etc.  Open 3 Counties Combine when 591 members sent 5354 birds

 

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