Tipperary hurling stars come to New York to support Matthew Macklin on St. Patrick’s Day
Tipperary hurling stars Lar Corbett and Eoin Kelly were at the Trinity Gym just off Wall Street in lower Manhattan last Wednesday as part of middleweight contender Matthew Macklin’s open media workout ahead of his March 17 fight against Sergio Martinez at Madison Square Garden.
Though the boxing media was there to see how Macklin’s preparations were going, Kelly and Corbett also garnered some attention, particularly the latter, who decided to retire from the Tipperary senior hurling team four weeks ago due to work commitments. That shock decision has reverberated with hurling fans not only in Ireland, but all over the world.
Even Macklin, who hurled for Tipperary at underage when he came over to Ireland from Birmingham for summers during his youth, tweeted jokingly that that he would “try n (sic) coax Lar out of retirement,” when he arrived.
While everyone in the Premier County hopes that Macklin can win that fight too, Corbett seemed at ease with his decision as he watched the boxer prepare to work out with trainer Buddy McGirt.
“We all have to make our own decisions in life, and at the minute I made a decision. It would have been very difficult to give 100 percent, but we are out here to support Matthew and do everything we can to give him an extra lift,” Corbett told the Irish Voice.
The Tipperary County Board released a statement after Corbett's announcement saying that the door would always be open if he changed his mind.
While Macklin was keeping his chin tucked close to his chest as he shadow boxed during training, Corbett was keeping his cards close to his when it came to talking about his future.
“At the minute I have made my decision and that is just the way it is. There is no door closing and I have a good relationship with (officials) Declan (Ryan) and Tommy ( Dunne) and Mikey (Gleason).”
Corbett, who has “also taken a step back” from club play with Thurles Sarsfields, went on to say that he was delighted with his career and the people he met during it.
Kelly, who came on as a second half substitute in Tipperary’s recent league defeat to Kilkenny, described what it felt like for the team to face their archrival without Corbett.
“We, to be honest, have moved on, and we were just disappointed with our performance,” said Kelly.
“Lads can’t commit to it at the minute,” he added. “The training has stepped up for inter-county GAA players. A couple of players are going to suffer for that because they cannot commit to it because of other things going on in their lives, and Lar is one of those at the moment. The door is wide open and that is the one happy thing to come out of it.”
Macklin dropped a controversial split decision loss to WBA champion Felix Sturm last June, and though there is no sanctioned belt on the line against Martinez on St. Patrick’s night, if “Mack the Knife” can beat the Argentinean, who is recognized as the best fighter in the division, he will be the man to beat at 160 pounds.
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