Crehan & O’Connor - The Salford superstars (UK)

Since the mid 1970s, I have seen many people come into the sport of racing pigeons. Most of these fanciers have had some success at some stage but looking back over those years I have seen some fanciers who have achieved great success.

In the mid seventies there was Alfie Wright and Stuart Blake. In the early eighties there was George Hilson who formed a partnership with Roy Barber and there was the Holker brothers, Geoff and Tony, and the more modern day fanciers such as Wall Lunt and Green. I have watched these people over the years mature into outstanding pigeon flyers, and every so often there seems to be a pigeon fancier or fanciers that comes along and makes people sit up and take notice. I believe we now have such fanciers in the North West in the partnership of Crehan and O’Connor from Salford, Manchester. The senior partner is John Crehan. I’ve known this lad since he was nine years of age (see photo) and I can safely say at that age he was pigeon mad and still is today! John is 31 years of age and his partner Andy is 32. As you can see these lads have many years of pigeon racing left in them, as they have youth on their side. They also have a silent partner who again I have known personally for many years, who is Dave Hulmes, who joined the lads in 2008.

Palmares "Mystique"

In his early days, John used to help his father Tommy, who was in his own right, a successful pigeon flyer on his day. The lads only started to race pigeons in 2003 and John went about purchasing the best pigeons he could afford at the time, which on the advice of Wall, Lunt & Green led him the Peter Van De Merwe pigeons, success was almost instant as they topped the Altrincham & District fed within four young bird races, if only we all knew what was to come.
The lads now race in two local clubs namely Kersal Vale H.S and Park flying club which are both members of Altrincham & District Federation, which is affiliated to the Central Lancashire Combine and the mighty Three Counties Combine.
They are also members of the North West Classic Club and the North West Grand National, and Lancashire Nantes Two Bird Club and the lads proudly say they have won them all.
The lads started the 2009 season with twenty cocks and twenty hens; they were paired on the 10th January and all birds were allowed to rear although mainly as feeders for the stock birds. The birds were allowed to sit there 2nd round of eggs for four or five days then eggs were removed but John likes to leave the hens with the cocks for two or three days after removing the eggs to prevent the hens from trying to get back into the section where they had their nest, all boxes were thoroughly cleaned and the birds were then on widowhood.
The team had plenty of short tosses prior to the first race of the season up to a maximum of 18 miles as the crow flies. The birds are fed on a good quality widowhood mix throughout the season with depurative added and fed to appetite.
They like to race every week, but sometimes John admits a week’s rest can work wonders.
Now on to the performances of this loft which is like reading a fairytale of results which most pigeon fanciers can only dream of, in the last four years this loft has topped Altrincham & District Federation no less than twenty times, now on reading this many people will think immediately “There loft must be in a good position”or “They send hundreds of birds” quite the contrary is adequate, the lads are the shortest flyers in Kersal Vale H.S which is without any shadow of a doubt the strongest club in the fed, in the federation they have members flying 7 miles south 8 miles north, 5 miles east and 7 miles west so as you see no loft location advantage what so ever.
In the Central Lancashire Combine which can have up to 7000 + birds and 400+ members and has a radius of at least 30 miles of the lads loft, in the last 4 years or 20 or so combine races they have competed in they have won this organisation a total of 6 times with old birds, young birds and from across the channel, and also taking the 1st 3 positions in the combine an amazing 3 times,  this is without all the 2nd 3rds etc which there have been many, so as you see an all round loft.
To give readers an idea of the performances this loft has put up in recent years I’d like to outline some of the present records held by these lads in there organisations, some of which I doubt will ever be surpassed.
1.  Only loft in the history of Kersal Vale H.S to take the 1st 11 positions where 14 members sent 448 birds.
2.  Only loft in the History of Altrincham & District fed to top the fed on 4 consecutive weeks.
3.  Only Loft in the history of the Central Lancashire Combine to win the Central Lancashire Combine back to back from across the channel and then on land.

 4.  Only loft to have the same pigeon win a Central Lancashire Combine race as a young bird then again as an old bird.

5. Only loft to have a pigeon in the top 3 of the Central Lancashire Combine young bird race which is the last YB race of the season (There is only one young bird combine race per year) for 4 consecutive years in 2005 1st 1100 birds 2006 this loft was 2nd 3rd4th from 2381 birds.  2007 3rd 2031 birds 2008 1st 2nd 3rd from 1811 birds.
6. The only loft to ever have taken 1st 2nd and 3rd in the same race in the Central Lancashire Combine with old birds inland, also with young birds, and from across the channel .
7. Taking 7 of the top 8 position in the Central Lancashire Combine including 1,2,3 from a channel race with 7 birds in the top 21.
 245 members sent 2177 birds.

8. Only loft to take the 1st three positions in the history of the Three Counties Combine from across the channel where 591 Members sent 5394 birds in 2008.
9. Highest young bird points winners in Altrincham & District federation for the last 4 years.
10. Highest points winner all races in Altrincham & District federation for the last 4 years.
Now please readers digest these results then ask yourself who else do you know who can boast such results? Then realise that this has been achieved in just a six year period since starting, flying of the highest order I think you will agree?
John believes that winning with pigeons is made a lot easier when you have the right quality of birds, John has very high standards and eliminates any bird that after the yearling stage has not had a top 10 federation position, and from the 36 remaining birds in the lads old bird race team all 36 have at least this criteria which must make them easier to work with.
The lads like there birds to have good looks, a nice apple body and good feather quality but in John’s words the ugly sods seem to do O.K too.
On the 13th June 2009, this loft gave us a team performance which many recognise as one of, if not THE best performances ever put up into the area, in the Park H.S club they sent just 8 hens and finished 1,2,3,5,6,7,8,9th club timing in all 8, and in Kersal vale they sent 6 cocks and finished 2nd and 3rd beaten on a decimal.
Then in the federation they took 1st 2nd 3rd 5th 6th 7th 8th . 358 miles
In the Central Lancashire Combine they finished 1st 2nd 3rd 5th 6th7th 8th with 245 members sending 2177 birds.  Then in the Three Counties Combine they finished 1,2,3,6,13,16,21st Open, (bearing in mind the Three Counties Combine is a combine of combines, which covers all Cheshire, all Lancashire and Cumbria, which consists of the Cheshire Combine, the Lancashire Combine, Two Counties Combine and Central Lancashire Combine), where 591 members sent 5354 birds flying a distance of 358 miles. What makes this performance even more spectacular is that there was 3 minutes in the 1st 3 pigeons so all 3 must have been flying alone in front of the pack.

Some highlights from 2004 – 2009:

WOLLASTON    1.2.4          249 BIRDS
WOLLASTON    1.2.5         1763 BIRDS
KEMPSEY      1.2            220 BIRDS
KEMPSEY      1.3           1874 BIRDS
KEMPSEY        268 BIRDS
KEMPSEY       1782 BIRDS
CHELTENHAM   1.2.3          292 BIRDS 
CHELTENHAM   1.5.6          236 BIRDS 
CHELTENHAM   1.17.21       1858 BIRDS
PORTLAND     1.2.3          137 BIRDS
PORTLAND     2.3.4         1027 BIRDS
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 BIRDS
CHELTENHAM   1.            3200 BIRDS
CHELTENHAM   1.2.3          373 BIRDS
YEOVIL       1.3            353 BIRDS
CHELTENHAM   1.             161 BIRDS
CHELTENHAM            135 BIRDS
CHELTENHAM           1016 BIRDS
CHELTENHAM   1.2.3          202 BIRDS
MANGOTSFIELD 1.2.           140 BIRDS
YEOVIL         64 BIRDS
PORTLAND     1.3            299 BIRDS
PORTLAND     2.5           1747 BIRDS
WOLLASTON    1,6            183 BIRDS
CHELTENHAM   1,2,3          966 BIRDS
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, 8675 BIRDS
FOURGERES    1st 2nd 3rd 6th 13th 16th 21st Open when 591 members sent 5354 birds 

Really is the stuff dreams are made of.
The winning pigeon in the Three Counties Combine now known as Queen “B” a 2 yr old blue hen. The sire of this hen is a Peter Van de Merwe Jansen from their best pair which is now sire and grandsire of many 1st fed winners, her sire was actually 6th Three Counties Combine in the same race and will now be retired to the stock loft. The dam of Queen “B” is “Lois” a Jansen hen which also won Central Lancashire Combine by race in 2005 and is from an Alwin Petrie cock x a WLG hen from the sessink cock and “Lois“ is also the nestmate to the hen that’s 3rd Combine.
2nd open Three Counties Combine is a yearling hen that 2 weeks before this race was 2nd section 5th open North West classic club from Portland, she is a grand Daughter of Rip x Spitfire that John purchased from the Moore, Ogden & Godwin entire clearence sale in 2006
This fantastic jansen cock and Koopman hen have also sired 8 x 1stfederation winners plus many other fed and amal and North West Grand National section winners for others, this pair is also the Grandparents of the mother of Gary Inkleys 2009 1st open N.F.C Saintes winner.
3rd Open combine is an 05 bred hen that also has previous, having won the lads a NW region RPRA sprint award in 2008,She is from an Alwin Petrie cock when paired to a WLG hen from the Sessink cock, this pair have also bred many winners. This hen will also now be retired to the stock shed . The lads have also won 2 region RPRA awards in the last 3 years of which I’m sure there will be many more in the years to come.
John lives eats and breaths pigeons, he really is a fanatic, I know of no one who is keener at the present time and deserves all that comes his way, this loft is the loft of the present and the future, watch this space……


Nobody deserves more publicity than John, a family man with a true dedication to his pigeons. If ever you want to know anything just ask John he has a mind of information.
A great fancier and friend. Congratulations on all your performances and many more to come.

What else can be said about this partnerships racing and breeding performances over the last few years what has not been already said and talked about ,fantastic winning team from 60 miles right through to 500 miles , well done no one deserves it more ,
FOURGERES 1st 2nd 3rd 6th 13th 16th 21st Open when 591 members sent 5354 birds
this performance racing from France to Lancashire was incredible ,one word brilliant , well done Boys all the best

Well done John boy superb results long may it continue
all the very best
Johnny Brandon

wow. phenomanal results in a short time. you have superior racing pigeons. hope the team keeps winning. good on you fellas.. Cool

great performances by crehan & o connor salford lads keep it up lads, i came from salford born there 1948 york st but moved to australia ,
good to see the high number clockings per race something that is not allowed here in melbourne federations ,
manchester area always has great competion even when i raced the pigeons there ,
it is a great write up by john winder on the lads an old friend from the 1960s .