10th January 2022


    Traditionally the 2nd Saturday in January is when the East Down Combine hold their AGM and  2022 was  to prove no exception although there had been a break in 2021 because of the lockdown . This year  although strict  Covid Protocols had to be observed  this was just one of several differences to this Year’s meeting which was once again held in the War Memorial Hall in Crossgar on Saturday January 8th at 2pm .
    On arrival members were asked to wear masks , sanitise hands and then take a seat which had been placed 2 metres apart in the Main Hall this year ,which allowed plenty of Space for the 40 or so in attendance .
    The chairman Len McCavery  got  the proceedings underway at 2pm  and after welcoming all members present requested a minutes silence for those who had passed away since the previous  meeting .
    Apologies were then  received and recorded and the  Financial  Secretary Sam Duke  was then requested to read the minutes of the previous AGM  which were passed as a true record of  that meeting .    The meeting then moved on to the first item on the Agenda which was the Chairman’s Report from Len McCavery and in a very comprehensive report  all the Officials ,Centre Officials and General Committee  were thanked for all their hard work and support throughout the season.  The outgoing President was thanked for the contribution he had made throughout the Year and Colin Smyth (vice chairman) was thanked for  his help and Len had a special word of thanks for Sam Duke who had put in a tremendous amount of work as Financial Secretary , and for Dorothy Smyth for all her tireless work especially for her organisation of the Annual  Dinner .     
     Len  then thanked the PRO’s for all their work throughout the season keeping the  Combine to the forefront  in many areas  , he also    thanked the Transport  Committee ,Race Controllers & Drivers  & Auditors .  .
    The weather Committee were thanked for all the work they had put into making decisions regarding basketing days etc which although not always popular were made in   the best interests of the membership  based on  the information available to them at the time and congratulated Doley Croskery  who had done so well yet again  as Race Controller.  
    At this stage Len went on to explain to the meeting that after some 10 years as Chairman of the East Down Combine he was not seeking re election and also went on to advise that the Financial Secretary Sam Duke was also retiring from his position after some 13 years and that the race Controller Doley Croskery was not standing for this position for the incoming season .
In Conclusion Len  extended congratulations to all the 2021 prize winners . The Chairman’s report  which as always was well presented was well received by those present .
    The next item was the Financial Secretary’s report and as already mentioned this was Sam’s last report, Sam reiterated  all of what  Len  had said by way of thanking all those who had worked so hard for the Combine and he had a special word of thanks for Len McCavery  for his role as chairman of the Combine in 2021 and Doley Croskery for his  year as President and he commended Dorothy Smyth for  the outstanding amount of  work she had put in  once again over the year especially with the Organisation of the Annual Dinner .He also thanked all the club Secretaries and Treasurers for their assistance  over the years and again throughout the past season  and  extended  his  congratulations to all the prize winners of 2021
    Moving on to look at the accounts for 2021 and Sam pointed out that the membership was only slightly  reduced from the previous   season and  the Combine was still sound financially although  2021 again showed a deficit for the year of almost £8,000 which Sam said was a result of several items mainly lorry and crate repairs but with running costs likely to increase for the 2022 season it was left to the committee to look at how  best to meet these increases.
    Sam then went through the rest of the Income & Expenditure account and Balance sheet in  detail  and then  invited questions  or comments from the floor but as his explanations had been very detailed the Accounts were passed with only clarification being sought on what was included as running expenses 
     Brendan McLoughlin  then spoke on behalf of the Combine Auditors and endorsed what Sam had explained to everyone. Stating that the Combine had been  very fortunate to have the books prepared and kept in  such a very professional manner and this was reiterated by John Gordon the Combine’s other auditor .
    As there was no Correspondence for 2021 the meeting moved on to the next item which was  the election of office bearers for 2022 and Len McCavery  invited Brendan McLoughlin to conduct this part of the meeting .  Before taking nominations for the various offices Brendan  paid tribute to the work done by the retiring Chairman and Financial Secretary for their dedication and hard work  which both had done in their respective roles over many years .Brendan  then Congratulated the 2021 prize winners  and conducted the election  of  the office bearers for 2022 which was to see several major changes . Those elected were as follows :


PRESIDENT            Jim Young

VICE  PRESIDENT        Len McCavery

JUNIOR VICE PRESIDENT     Albert Lockhart 

CHAIRMAN             Jim Young 

V/CHAIRMAN            John Albert 

SECRETARY            Eamon Lenaghan 

TREASURER            Patricia Hamilton 

RACE CONTROLLER        Mrs Dorothy Smyth 

Assistant race Controller     Hugh Cully

PROs                 Ronnie Johnston                
                Mrs Dorothy Smyth 
                Clifford Browne 

     Before moving on to look at the 2022 business a little about some of the new names  elected to hold office with the retirement of both the Chairman and Financial Secretary . Jim Young of  Portavogie was elected to the position of Chairman and Jim is well known to Combine members racing as J & R Young and on taking the chair conducted the meeting in a very
 professional manner which ensured the business was got through efficiently .
  Eamon Lenaghan has been appointed as the incoming Secretary to the Combine on the recommendation of the Committee who interviewed Eamon for the post . Eamon may not be a name familiar to many not having been involved in the pigeon world for some time but comes with both a knowledge of pigeons and a great wealth of knowledge of IT and we wish him every success in this new role . With Sam Duke’s retirement this meant that the role of Financial Secretary was once again split into Secretary and treasurer and it was Patricia Hamilton who was elected as treasurer ,Patricia being Sam  Duke’s Daughter and who was already familiar with the financial workings of the Combine .
       With Doley Croskery standing down as race Controller Dorothy Smyth was elected to this post with Hugh Cully being elected as assistant .

With the election of the Office Bearers complete  it was  then time to look at the new business of the afternoon and this saw several proposals for the 2022 race programme plus a number of other items of importance . Looking at the 2022 Race Programme first 

        The 2020  EDC Old Bird Race Programme automatically goes on the Agenda         for 2022 .  Mullingar, Tullamore, Thurles, 1st Macroom,  Skibbereen Classic ,         Talbenny , 2nd Macroom , Bude &  Derek Wishart Classic Mallow (same day),         2nd Thurles, Penzance and Penzance Classic , St. Malo Old Bird Derby

PROPOSAL (A)  SUBMITTED BY    Ballylesson HPS----
        1st Kilkea, 2nd Kilkea, 1st Gowran Park, 1st Cashel, Pilmore Beach, Skibbereen         Classic,     Talbenny, 2nd Cashel,  Bude & Derek Wishart Classic  Pilmore Beach         (same Day) 2nd Gowran Park , Penzance & Penzance Classic ,
        St. Malo Old Bird Derby

        Navan, Tullamore ,Roscrea, Mallow,  Macroom ,Skibbereen Classic ,Mallow,1st          Talbenny, 2nd Talbenny  & Derek Wishart Classic Macroom  (same Day) ,              Bude,     Penzance & Penzance Classic , St. Malo Old Bird Derby

On being put to a vote Proposal (B) submitted by the Killyleagh HPS carried 

Moving on to the Young Bird Programmes and again the 2020 EAST DOWN COMBINE YOUNG BIRD PROGRAMME AUTOMATICALLY went ON THE AGENDA FOR 2022. 
Which  was ;   1st Navan,2nd Navan , 1st Tullamore, 2nd Tullamore , Mullingar Comeback ,                1st Thurles, 2nd Thurles,  Mallow& Talbenny Young Bird Derby (on the same         day) ,Macroom Young  Bird Derby, Skibbereen Young Bird                   Derby.

        1st Navan, 2nd Navan 1st  Kilkea, 2nd Kilkea ,Gowran Park, Cashel , Pilmore Beach& Talbenny Derby( same day) Macroom YB Derby, Skibbereen YB Derby.

          1st  Navan,  2nd Navan  1ST Kilkea, 2nd Kilkea, 1st Gowran Park,  2nd Gowran Park ,Cashel &Talbenny YB Derby (Same Day ) , 1st Skibbereen YB derby, 2nd Skibbereen YB Derby 

          1st Navan ,2nd Navan, 1st Tullamore, 2nd Tullamore , Navan (Comeback             Midweek) , 1st Roscrea , 2nd Roscrea ,Mallow & Talbenny YB Derby ( Same         Day ) Macroom  YB Derby,  Skibbereen     YB Derby 

On being put to the meeting the Ballylesson  proposal carried and racing is due to commence on SATURDAY 9th APRIL 2022.

    With the race Programme decided their were two other proposals to be dealt with ,the first was a proposal from Downpatrick Premier HPS “that the Old Bird Skibbereen Classic take the same format as the Penzance Classic” . This was ruled inadmissible as the old Bird programme for 2022 had already been passed as just the Skibbereen Classic .
     The second proposal  was submitted by Crossgar HPS and read “ That The East Down Combine video on a weekly basis the birds being watered and Fed and the video uploaded to the East Down Combine website”  This led to a debate on the pros and cons of such a move and it remains to be seen how this is fulfilled  .
    The final item for the afternoon was a presentation to Sam Duke in recognition of his services to the Combine over many years and this was made by Dorothy Smyth.
    Finally in closing the meeting  the Chairman sought the permission of the meeting to allow the Secretary to dispose of  the 2021 paperwork .
    This being   all the business of the afternoon the chairman closed the meeting after thanking everyone for their attendance .


2021 Derby  success for Annsborough partnership

    The Annsborough partnership of Geraldine & Paddy  Brown had a very successful 2021 season but as they were away from home at the time of the EDC Prize night they missed out on being able to attend in person  to receive  the two major cups won,  the L &A Fields Memorial cup for the best Average Old Bird Classic and Old Bird derby when from the Derby (St.Malo)  they were 3rd Open with a 2yo Red cock which had been in every race this season and went to St.Malo on eggs 10days The sire is of Tom Marshall bloodlines and the dam is from Annalong’s Kevin Rooney and the birds were  trained regularly from Castle Bellingham and Balbriggan .
    The other major trophy won was the McCloud Cup for the best average over all derbies which saw the partnership winning as mentioned 3rd open St Malo OB Derby ,14th open Talbenny YB Derby and 39th open in the Skibbereen YB Derby . 


    Once again the Combine has suffered  further bereavements with the death of Karen  the wife of Maurice Browne of the  Bangor RPC partnership of M & K Browne  and Betty McConaghie the widow of the late Ken McConaghie and Mother of Geoff of the Newtownbreda club . We extend our deepest sympathy to both these families at this time on their sad loss .


Well that is the Combine set for the 2022 season and I hope all have a good 2022 season .

Clifford Browne 




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