Star hurler Lar Corbett teams with boxer in bid to buy 'birthplace of GAA'
STAR hurler Lar Corbett and international boxing star Matthew Macklin have set their sights on purchasing the 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 Mr Corbett and Mr Macklin are two members of a three-man team, along with local businessman Kevin Coppinger, who are looking at taking over the reins.
In April 2011, Mr Corbett launched his new business -- Lar Corbett's bar at Coppinger's bar -- and the pair also run Italian restaurant Puccini's.
But purchasing Hayes Hotel would be the jewel in the crown for Mr Corbett and Mr Coppinger.
Mr 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."
The proposed deal seems like an ideal fit as Mr Corbett's involvement would help to preserve the GAA heritage of Hayes Hotel, where the association was founded in 1884.
And as a renowned international sportsman, Mr Macklin's input would help with the global potential of the business.
It is understood that Mr Corbett, Mr Coppinger and Mr Macklin had a look around Hayes Hotel as recently as yesterday 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.
Mr Coppinger and Mr Corbett, Hurler of the Year in 2010, are both natives of Thurles, and while Mr Macklin was born in Birmingham, he has strong Tipperary roots.
Mr Macklin's father hails from Four Roads in Roscommon, a hurling hotbed, while his mother is a native of Holycross in Tipperary.
A regular summer visitor to Ireland as a child and into his teens, Mr Macklin joined up with Ballingarry and starred as a high-scoring half-forward.
He won an U12 South medal with the club but was left heartbroken in 1996 when he was deemed ineligible to play for Tipperary in the prestigious Tony Forrestal U14 intercounty competition. Mr Macklin, however, did represent Tipperary in the U16 grade, before dedicating himself to big-time boxing.