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Conquerors through half a century!

It began with rehearsals in Kiltormer Hall in 1972 – and half a century later the Conquerors are taking two nights to celebrate 50 years on the road . . . the longest-running running band in Ireland.

They may have started out as a showband towards the end of that golden era, but they have long since evolved into a genre all of their own – by encompassing all other genres!

“We can do Steely Dan or the Siege of Ennis – and anything you like in between,” says drummer Paul Vignoles, who has been part of the operation since 2007.

Which may be why they’re busier than ever, with corporate gigs, weddings, cruises, overseas tours in the UK and US – and filling ballrooms or function rooms all over the country.

Last month they were the ‘house band’ on a cruise off Portugal where over 1,000 music fans gathered twice a night to hear them play, as well as backing a host of other big Irish names.

And a host of those same stars – a virtual who’s who of the Irish music scene – will line up with the Conquerors to mark their big birthday at the Galmont Hotel next Tuesday and Wednesday.

They will include Derek Ryan, Mike Denver, Red Hurley, Gerry Guthrie, Brendan Shine, RTÉ’s Ronan Collins, Gina, Declan Nerney, Linda Martin, Trudi Lalor, the Swarbriggs, Johnny Brady, Louise Morrissey and many more.

And there through it all will be the Conqs themselves; the current line-up of the Galway band – Tony Maher on piano and keyboards, Frankie Colohan on guitar, Paul Vignoles on drums, Dave Cooley on bass and lead singer, Derek Feery.

The thread to that very first night is Tony Maher, the Toomevara native, on keyboards from the start – there through the flares, the showband era, the UK tours, cruise ships, hit singles and, oddly enough for a Tipp man, playing at Galway All-Ireland homecomings with the song that has become an anthem for the county and the band alike.

Galway Are Back was a variation on their big hit from the eighties, Baby Come Back, and it is long since synonymous with the county’s great GAA days.

“We still get requests to play it everywhere we go – and not just in Galway!” says Tony.

Get the full story – and more evocative pix through the years – in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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