Showbands - Bloody Morgan & The Pirates
Bloody Morgan & The Pirates (Limerick)

Related: Empire, Flash

Vocals: Ger Cusack, Harry Cooney, Marie Cassidy
Guitar: Bob Sullivan
Bass: George Mulcahy
Trumpet: Mick Guinnane
Sax/Clarinet: Christy Falahee
Drums: Declan Sullivan


The Pirates was a Limerick-based band, the 'part' of Bloody Morgan being played originally by Ger Cusack who parted with the band soon after its launch and then by Harry Cooney, a musician from Newry, County Down whose brother Maurice played with a number of bands including Green County, Red Hurley's Band, The Bluebirds and the Dazzle Band. In 1977, the brothers teamed up to form Flash.

I spoke with Harry Cooney (aka Bloody Morgan) recently and he has an interesting story to tell about his time with the band. In 1975, The Pirates were touring Canada and at the time, the biggest Irish band there was Dublin Corporation (formerly The Pacific Showband). While they were there, Peter Law left the band and returned home to Naas. Harry was invited to audition to replace Peter and he duly went along, auditioned and was offered the job which he was delighted to accept. Meanwhile, The Pirates had engagements to fulfil and the arrangement was that they would complete their tour, return home and when the dust settled,  Harry would go back to Canada and take up his new position with Dublin Corporation.

But, as it often does, fate intervened. When The Pirates landed in Shannon Airport, Marie (his co-lead vocalist) handed in her notice and left the band. They had a packed diary and when Harry left, they would have no lead singer. Negotiations began with management and Harry was convinced to stay with The Pirates and to turn down the job offer with Dublin Corporation. His place was eventually taken by Stuart McDonald who had been with Jim Farley's Top Hatters.

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