Corbett and Macklin planning bid for GAA’s birthplace

All-Ireland winning Tipperary hurler Lar Corbett and international boxing star Matthew Macklin have set their sights on purchasing Hayes Hotel in Thurles — the birthplace of the GAA.

Hayes Hotel went into receivership last April but remains open amid calls from leading figures, including former GAA President Sean Kelly, for the premises to be saved.

And it has now emerged that Corbett and Macklin are two members of a three-man team, along with local businessman Kevin Coppinger, who are looking at the historic Liberty Square premises.

Coppinger and Corbett, Hurler of the Year in 2010, are both natives of Thurles and while Macklin was born in Birmingham, he has strong Tipperary roots as his mother is a native of Holycross in the county.

Macklin, 31, remains good friends with Tipperary sharpshooter Eoin Kelly and he also struck up a relationship with Corbett (32) in recent years.

Kelly and Corbett have both travelled to New York to watch Macklin train and last December, Corbett and Coppinger were present in Atlantic City when Macklin beat American Lamar Russ in a middleweight bout.

Coppinger and Corbett are both heavily involved in business in Thurles and their stock is high in the local area.

In April 2011, Corbett launched his new business — Lar Corbett’s bar at Coppinger’s bar — and the pair also run Italian restaurant Puccini’s on Friar Street in the town.

Coppinger confirmed last night: “We have expressed a definite interest in purchasing the premises. I’m a native of Thurles myself, as is Larry, and we are acutely aware of the special place that Hayes Hotel holds in the hearts of local people. It is, of course, the birthplace of the GAA and we would like to see that spirit continue long into the future.”

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