JOHN CREHAN - Golden Duif winner UK and Rep. of Ireland


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The City of Salford trapped in a bend of the River Irwell is part of Greater Manchester – a city world famous for the two Premier League football Clubs of Manchester City and Manchester United! There is now a third Premier League Team in Manchester, that of Crehan & O’Connor after winning the Golden Duif UK & RoI Championship in 2018!

Although raced under the partnership name of Crehan & O’Connor only one man manages the lofts and races the pigeons, John Crehan 42, his former partner Andy O’Connor having left the team approximately 10 years ago but John has still not got round to taking his name from the partnership.
John and Lisa (his biggest supporter) have two daughters Lily and Lois and all three will lend a hand if required.

1st Central Lancashire Combine Tweksbury 1943 b. 100 miles

sending 12

1st Central Lancashire Combine Hullavington 5633 b.  140 miles sending 20
1st Open NFC Ancenis 5160 b. 424 miles sending 1
5th Section Tarbes 216 b. 715 miles sending 1
1st Fed. Worcester 797 b. 86 miles sending 25 youngsters

The early days

As a boy John flew with his late father Tommy and to this day still treasures his first small trophy as a momento of his first season but more importantly to keep alive the memory of his father who sadly passed away a couple of years ago.
John re started in the sport in 2003 and following the advice from the local legends Wall, Lunt and Green he invested in direct imports from Peter Van de Merwe which had an instant impact including 4 x 1st Federation in their first season, the Golden Pair bred 10 x 1st prize winners.
These were supplemented with introductions direct from the best available from Alwyn Petrie, Gerard Koopman, Syndicate Lofts, the Eijerkamp Family (from Che, Jackpot etc), Danny Van Dyck (from Kanon, den 11 etc.), Leo Heremans (from de Jan, Nieuwe Olympiade, “Nieuwe Rossi” x “Eenoogske”etc.) and “Olympic Wolverine” a Kannibaal based cock who was 1st UK Olympiad representative and 4th overall in the 2011 Poznan Olympiad in the Yearling Category.

The great leap forward

Among the introductions from Syndicate Lofts was a chequer hen who was placed in the race team becaming an ace racer and then an even better breeder once retired to the breeding loft, it is probably fair to say that she brought the name of Crehan & O’Connor International recognition and took the loft to a new level, given the name “Mystique” she herself won 7 x 1st prizes against 4,316 b, 3,801 b, 1,558 b, 570 b, 318 b, 117 b & 45 b at races between 147 and 322 KM without duplication.
She proved to be a super breeder both for John and others, at John’s own loft when coupled with “Clean Slate” she bred the nestmates “Vitali” 1st RPRA North West Region All Round Ace Pigeon (1,800 lofts), 1st National Ace Pigeon All Round (28,000 lofts) 2013 as well as 2nd RPRA North West Region Ace Pigeons Sprint (1,800 members) behind his nestmate “Vladimir” the 1st RPRA North West Region (1,800 members) Sprint and 3rd RPRA National Ace Pigeon Sprint (28,000 lofts) 2013. She also is dam of Combine winners against 3,046 b, 2,947 b and 1st Prize winners at Federation and Club level. In one loft races her children won 6 x 1st Open UK in the Sun City Million Dollar and Golden Algarve races , as a result of the consistent success John was asked to sell his old bird race team and breeders on PIPA at the end of the 2014 season.

John en zijn echtgenote Lisa die helpt waar nodig.A new co operation and re start 

It was at the South Africa Million Dollar Pigeon race in January 2014 that Thomas Gyselbrecht introduced John Crehan to Jan Hooymans and mentioned John was selling his race and breeding team at Auction and that he owned an exceptional hen with nestmates sons winning 1st and 3rd National Ace Pigeon. After Thomas left them to their conversation John and Jan continued to discuss pigeons over a bottle of wine (or two) and at the end of the evening a provisional agreement was made to take “Mystique” to Kerkdreil to couple with “Harry” and “James Bond” and for Jan to return her and Children from her bred at Kerkdreil to Salford along with a new stock team and a YB team to race at John’s loft in 2014. This resulted in wins at Club, Fed and Combine from the first season and it was agreed for the pigeons to be raced on as yearlings in Salford and a further team of youngsters to be delivered from Kerkdriel in Spring 2015, again this was a success and now all the race team are bred by Jan and raced by John.
The current Crehan and O’Connor team consists of their own “Mystique” line when she was coupled to “Harry” and “James Bond” blended into and supplemented with the best Jan could send over each year for the Crehan and O’Connor young bird team.


The target is usually all races up to 400 miles with the old birds and all races to 200 miles with young birds, however as the Golden Duif UK & RoI requires a Long Distance performance from 425 miles or further to qualify John had to set individual pigeons up to gain the necessary performances in this category.
At least 20 x 1sts a year has been the won every season since 2004 against up to 6,000 pigeons at Combine level. This is achieved via two local Clubs, one Federation, one Amalgamation, one Combine and for National races via the Midlands National Flying Club, British International Championship Club and the National Flying Club.
The current team have so far achieved 5 x RPRA North West Region Ace Pigeon Awards, 2 x UK Olympiad Pigeons at Brussels in 2017, 2nd RPRA National Ace Pigeon Long Distance 2018 as well as numerous 1sts at Club, Fed, Amal and Combine level.
During the 2018 season John won 33 x 1st Prizes and these included a very prestigious 1st in the RPRA North West Region Armistice Race to commemorate the end of the First World War from Carentan against 4,406 b from 537 lofts, an incredible 1st Open National Flying Club from Ancennis with a single entry against 5,160 b from 629 lofts, flying a distance of 424 miles 1571 yards (189 yards short of the qualifying distance for the Golden Duif UK & RoI long distance category), but not one to lie down and take it John then sent to the two long distance races available on his calendar in his efforts to gain the best possible co efficient - Poitiers 500 miles with the BICC sending 2 pigeons to win 3rd Section and 54th National and Tarbes 715 miles with the NFC to achieve 5th Section and 93rd Open with a single entry – both of these performances achieved by “Blue Rose” 1st North West RPRA Region Ace Pigeon and 2nd RPRA National Ace Pigeon Long Distance.


The lofts raced to up to and including 2019 have recently been torn down and a new replacement L shape structure is currently under construction.
The 2018 old bird loft was 9.6 metres x 1.8 metres with four compartments (3 cocks & 1 hens), the Young bird loft is 5.4 metres x 1.8 metres in three compartments with full length aviary…
The breeding loft was 3 metres x 1.8 metres with two compartments with a small half height aviary on each.

Race methods

The old bird team consists of 30 couples on total widowhood, these are split between two Saturday Clubs weekly and as the distance increases certain pigeons are held off for specific events. Pigeons who perform well up to 400 KM will be kept to races under that distance whist others who perform up to 600 KM are raced to that distance and the odd individual sent to the lonest races.
The youngsters (80) arrive in March from Kerkdreil and are darkened from weaning until the 21st of June and are raced weekly out to 201 miles via the local clubs with 50% of the team sent to each Club.

Jan Hooymans en John CrehanFeeding and medication

John has used the mixes from Vanrobaeys of Rekkem for the last couple of seasons as they are readily available nearby and are consistently top quality.
Three different mixes are used “Diet”, “Depurative” and “Super Widowhood”, how they are blended daily depends upon the weather, day of the week and how difficult the previous race was and the distance/weather conditions for the next race.
The same 3 mixes are used for the old and young bird race teams and are complemented by the Matrix, grit, Gemthepax and other supplements from the UK based GEM company.

Apart from the mandatory PMV inoculation annually John takes the “stamp on it” approach to health, if he see’s a problem he stamps on it at the first sign to prevent it flaring up and effecting performance negatively. Treatment is only administered if there is a decrease in home exercise work rate or a poor performance from the team. The main issue’s to be aware of are Tricho and head problems and if he is unable to resolve it himself then Henk De Weerdt’s Beglica UK Clinic is used. Some season’s hardly any medication is needed and invariably they are the better season’s. John is of the opinion too many fanciers prevent their pigeons achieve their full potential by unnecessary administration of medication knocking the condition of the pigeons down week after week.

Congratulations on your success in 2018 and good luck with the new race lofts in 2019!

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