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Lar Corbett and Matthew Macklin in bid to buy the birthplace of the GAA

The sports stars have set their sights on purchasing the Thurles hotel that went into receivership last year.

Hayes Hotel in Thurles.
Hayes Hotel in Thurles.
Image: INPHO/James Crombie

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 and European MEP 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 taking over the reins in Liberty Square.

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 he is a native of Holycross in Tipperary.

A regular summer visitor to Ireland as a child and into his teens, Macklin joined up with the Ballingarry club. He represented Tipperary in the U16 grade, before dedicating himself to big-time boxing.

Macklin, 31, remains good friends with Tipp 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 fighter Lamar Russ in a middleweight bout.


Matthew Macklin
Pic: INPHO/Lorraine O’Sullivan

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.

But purchasing Hayes Hotel would be the jewel in the crown for Corbett and Coppinger, who have big plans for the business if they can seal a deal.

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.”

The proposed deal seems like an ideal fit as Corbett’s involvement would help to preserve the GAA heritage of Hayes Hotel, where the Association was founded in 1884.


Lar Corbett
Pic: INPHO/Cathal Noonan

And as a renowned international sportsman, Macklin’s input would help with the global potential of the business.

It is understood that Corbett, Coppinger and Macklin had a look around Hayes Hotel as recently as yesterday (Monday) and they could be ready to table a firm offer as early as next week.

Is it also believed that at this point in time, the three men are intent on pushing through any potential deal themselves.

But the possibility remains that another backer could be brought on board to help copper-fasten a buyout.

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Jackie Cahill

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