Photo Gallery -
Band Lineups -
- Audio samples -
Where Are They Now?
The Conquerors have the distinction of being
one of the longest running bands in Ireland. Along with the
Casino/Indians, the band has been on the road continuously (as
opposed to a few bands that have reformed in recent years) for
almost 40 years!
The story of the Conquerors is actually the
story of two bands. Founded in Birr, County Offaly, and managed by Frank Barry,
the original band was a middle of the road showband that had broken
up by 1970 (more to come).
In 1971 two members of the original band, Tom
Fitzgerald and Senan Davies, decided to take another shot and
reformed the band with new members, this time being headquartered in
Portumna. They added Willie Carty on guitar, local accordion whiz
kid Tony Maher on keyboards, Louis Burgoyne on drums and Brendan
Hogan on bass guitar. This "original" lineup of the second version
of the band hit the road on September 1, 1971. In 1972 they released
their first record, Home Away From Home, featuring guitarist
Willie Carty. Managed by Tom Dolphin, who also had managed the
Astronauts Showband, the band was doing well and
began to build a following regionally, but realized something
more was needed to launch them into the ranks of the showband elite.
In 1974, Tom Fitzgerald left the band and Con
Hynes, manager of Derrick Mehaffey (who had been fronting the Royal
in its waning years) suggested the two get together and for a time
Con managed the band known initially as Derrick and the
Conquerors, but the name was soon shortened to Derrick's Band.
The band also added a sax player, Mike Healy to fill out the band's
sound and expanded to a seven piece. Derrick and the band released a
record, Singing A Song About Love, but it failed to make an
impression with punters and within 18 months, Derrick had left to
join the Paddy Cole band and Con Hynes was gone as well.
July, 1975, with Tom Dolphin back as manager, the
band recruited lead singer, Tommy Flynn, from Killaloe in County
Clare. A short time after Tommy
joined, Mike Healy left and the band was back to the six
piece, which they would remain for over a decade. During this time,
the Conquerors became known as one of the best musical bands in the
country, but chart success still eluded them. In late 1978, that all
changed when Baby Come Back, a single featuring Tommy,
entered the Irish Charts and rose to number 12. Their follow-up
single, released in 1979 was Galway Are Back, a tribute to the
Galway football team, which also entered the Charts. The Galway
record would also be re-released on many occasions, becoming a
perennial favourite of Galway football supporters.
In the late seventies, the band released
several good, if not very original records, including several
Beatles numbers, none of which matched the success of previous
offerings. Then, in 1983, the band released Baby Blue which
would finally provide them with their first top ten hit, peaking at
number seven in the Irish charts. Bolstered by the success of Baby Blue,
the band decided to take the major step of forming their own record
company and later in 1983, they released their first single, When
I Get Back Home on their own Conks Label.
In 1985, after more than a decade, Tommy Flynn
left the band and emigrated to the United States. Replacing him was
a young guitarist, Frankie Colohan, who was also an excellent singer
and the band had three guitarists for a time. The band went with this
lineup for a short time, when just a year later, original member Senan Davies left the band. Tony Hogan was brought in as lead singer
and the band went back to a dual guitar lineup. Around this time
(late 80's) Willie Carty left the stage to look after the band's
management affairs which had been previously handled by
Jim O'Connor (former bass player with the
tenure as lead vocalist would be short by Conqueror's standards and
he left the band in 1989 to be replaced by Sean Slattery. The "new"
look Conquerors would not have another lineup change for the next 18
As the 80's became the 90's and the traditional ballroom
scene was all but dead, the Conquerors easily moved into the
Corporate/Wedding band scene and were soon one of the highest paid
acts in Ireland. Years of entertaining dancers gave them the musical
chops to take on any style and Sean's dynamic presence as a front
man made them the perfect band for special occasions.
During this time, Tony and Frankie had also
become more and more involved in the Irish recording scene, playing
on countless tracks recorded in Headford's Greenfields Studios, as
well as producing records for a wide range of new and veteran
artists. As the band grew from strength to strength, they eventually
became the second longest continuously running band in Ireland
behind only the Indians (formerly the Casino).
In 2007, the band was still going strong and
remained in high demand for weddings and corporate events. They also
often double as the "house" band for major concert events such as
the Miami 30 Year Anniversary concert held in 2005. However, 2007 also saw a change for the first time since 1989 when in
late 2007, Sean
Slattery and Doc Horan left to form their own band, Sean Slattery
and the Connections. Joining the Conqs was their first female member
ever, Lorraine McDonald, formerly with The Showband Show and
daughter of the Drifters' Frankie
along with local drummer Paul Vignoles. At the same time, Brendan
Hogan also called it quits and was replaced by James Blennerhassett
(who once played with the Kim Newport Band.) Tony Maher remains the only original member of the band, and
he has been on
the road since 1971 - 39 years!
Click on thumbnails for full images
||Tony Maher: Tony
and the boys are still going strong. For years, Tony lived
in Galway, but recently relocated to Headford where he
maintains an extensive home studio and does a lot of work
with other artists as well as for himself.
Hogan: Like Tony, Brendan was one of the original
members of the band and had been on the road for almost
forty years. In 2007, Brendan finally retired from playing
with the band and was replaced by Sligo's James
Blennerhassett on bass.
Fitzgerald - RIP: We received the sad news
that Tom passed away on the 6th of July, 2014. He had been
singing locally up until a few years before his death when
he got ill and had to retire. Our thanks to his daughter,
Siobhan for the info.
Davies: Unknown - if you have info please email us
Burgoyne: Enda Dempsey writes to tell us that Louis now
lives in Athlone where he teaches the drums. We also
received an email from Paul Brennan telling us the Louis has
spent the last 16 years playing around the midlands with the
band, Heatwave. If you have any
please let us know.
||Willie Carty: Willy
retired from performing a few years back and took over
management of the band from Jim O'Connor, their former
manager. In the ensuing years, he has built himself a stable
of other acts and now operates his own entertainment agency.
Mehaffey: Since his short time
with the Conquerors, Derrick has remained one of the most
enduring artists on the Irish scene. His musical travels
have taken him to Canada, Nashville and Denmark where he has
enjoyed continuing success. He has released several albums
and although his original leaning was toward pop music,
Derrick today does most of his crooning in the country and
We understand from Enda Dempsey that Shay went on to play
with Royal Flush and today he manages the band.
Kevin Molloy writes: Mike Healy, former sax player with the
Conquerors, is still living in Nenagh, Co. Tipperary. Mike
is a professional painter and decorator, but he is still
involved in the music business as part of tribute band, The
Pink Floyd Experience.
After leaving the band, Tommy emigrated to the United
States. He currently plays the Northeastern US with his New
York Showband and is doing quite well at it too!
Keane: RIP After leaving the Conquerors, Michael also
played with the Frank McCaffrey and the Country Folk. He
also did extensive session work on both guitar and pedal
steel at recording sessions in Greenfields Studios in
Headford, Co. Galway. Sadly, Michael passed away in 2002.
||Doc Horan: Doc
had been providing a solid backbone for the Conquerors since
he took over the drum sticks in the late 1970's until 2007.
He left the band with Sean Slattery to form a new
corporate/wedding band, The Connections, based out of
Colohan: One of the finest guitarists in Ireland,
Frankie joined the Conquerors rather "late," in the early
1980's. He has now been with the band for over twenty years
and has become one of the top session guitarists in Ireland.
Along with Tony Maher, they regularly produce records for a
wide variety of artists across the country in their studio
now located in Headford.
Slattery: Sean was considered the "new guy" in the band
even after playing with them for eighteen years! He finally
parted company with the Conquerors in early 2007 and formed
a group with drummer Doc Horan called The Connections. He lives in Galway and is gigging regularly, playing
dances, concerts, weddings and corporate events.
Blennerhassett: After starting his career with late
70's punk group, Fit Kilkenny and the Remoulds, James moved
into the showband world joining The Kim Newport Band in his
native Sligo in 1980. After a short stint with the band,
which also included future Tweed drummer, Seanie Ryan, he
moved to the world of session work and earned a reputation
as one of the top bass players in the country. In the mid
80's he was with The Hennigan's Blooze Band. Throughout the
90's and until joining the Conquerors in 2008, James toured
with acts like Mary and Francis Black, Brian Kennedy,
Gilbert O'Sullivan and many more.