Pigeon racing fraternity mourns passing of Tom

The late Tom Cotter (left) pictured at Ballymena with President Billy Smyth.
The late Tom Cotter (left) pictured at Ballymena with President Billy Smyth.

We had the very sad news this week that Tom Cotter had passed away at home in Cullybackey after a short period in hospital.

‘The King’ as he was affectionately known in local pigeon racing circles, was an ace racer going back many years, winning top prizes in all the clubs he raced in including Harryville, Randalstown and Ahoghill.

Not only could he race a bit, he enjoyed the Show Season and was often called to judge at the various local events.

In 2013 he covered the Eye-sign Class at the Ballymena & District, he was a big follower of this subject and enjoyed the debate and craic big time.

Tom will be sadly missed, sincere condolences to his partner Rosemary and the girls Alicia and Amanda, and the entire Family Circle.


The INFC Blue Riband for the old birds, the Grand Nat Kings Cup was flown last Friday from St Allouestre in France.

Liberation on 3rd July was at 6.15am in a Lt South Easterly wind.

Pre-race predictions were for a fast race and it turned out that way with all prizes filled on the day.

Randalstown completed the OB Classic double after Hugh Boyd won 1st Sect, 1st Comb and 3rd Open NIPA St Malo the week previous.

This time the club result was even better with Houston Bros 1st Combine.

Hugh Boyd was 3rd in the Mid-Antrim Combine and the new partnership of Noel Percy and Sam Murphy enjoyed their best result to date finishing 4th Combine.

Danny Dixon was the Mid-Antrim Combine runner-up, while Sammy Steele had 1st Cullybackey. Former YB Nat winner Wesley Jackson had 1st Harryville.

Former OB Derby winner T Shanks & Son had 1st Kells and Young McManus & Sons had 1st Ahoghill Flying Club.

Good to see Harry McCloy well placed after his recent trouble and new member Billy Ramsey had the only bird in Ballymena & District in the longest race of the year, flying 510 miles to Glarryford.

Mid Antrim Combine St Allouestre – Houston Bros Randalstown 1405, D Dixon Rasharkin 1342, H Boyd Randalstown 1311, Percy Son & Murphy Randalstown 1310, S Steele Cullybackey 1249, Reid Bros & McCloy Cullybackey 1198, W Jackson Harryville 1167, Reid Bros & McCloy 1120, A Darragh Cullybackey 1119, T Shanks & Son Kells 1101, B Swann & Son Kells 1065, Young McManus & Sons Ahoghill 1040, A Darragh 1040.