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Christmas Trees And Christmas Cards: Lar Corbett Is A Mad Business Man

Christmas Trees And Christmas Cards: Lar Corbett Is A Mad Business Man
By PJ Browne
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"I've been on a few All-Star trips with him and he was always kind of one looking for a niche and a market or looking to see if he could turn his hand to something. A bit of a Del Boy Trotter about him," says Jackie Tyrrell on a new episode of TG4's Laochra Gael.

Two-time Tipperary All-Ireland winner Lar Corbett is the subject of the show which airs at 9:30pm on Wednesday, February 28th.

Tyrrell's characterisation of Corbett certainly shines through.

"I was always interested in business and I was always interested in different ideas," says Corbett. "No matter where I go in the world, I'm always looking to see, 'Is there another idea out there?' Has somebody thought if something that's not in Ireland yet?'"

Corbett and his good friend and teammate Redser O'Grady set up the 'Redser Challenge' outside Semple Stadium to make some money and have some fun. "The youngsters love it. The youngsters are bringing their hurleys for the challenge. It's a think that'll take off around other fields."

It's not the only money making venture on which Corbett and O'Grady embarked upon together - they also sold Christmas trees.

Myself and Redser started doing the Christmas trees in 2003 or 2004. We done it for a couple of years. We used to have different prices going to different houses. The Christmas trees were €20 each. We were going into one house one night along the driveway. 'There's two doctors here,' he says. 'They're €30 each here'.

Despite being at a high point in his hurling career in 2010 - Tipperary beat Kilkenny to stop the 'Drive For Five' with Corbett scoring a hat-trick in the final - he was at a low point in his personal life, being unemployed for over a year.

"Halfway through 2009, things started to slow up. At the end of 2009, the start of 2010 it was week-on, week-off on a regular basis.


"Just as the third goal was hitting the net [vs Kilkenny], the IMF were dropping into Dublin airport, the wheels were just hitting off the runway. And they were telling lads, ‘You’ll have to close up shop here for a few years and get your house in order.’


"So I scored the three goals at the right time for Tipperary and the wrong time for myself."

Christmas of that year Corbett hit upon an idea to exploit Tipp's All-Ireland success against Kilkenny. A video with a woman putting a cat into a wheely bin had gone viral, Corbett riffed off it.

"That gave me an idea about a Christmas card. I saw the cat being put into bin and it couldn't have been a better time to put the cat into the bin - it was coming up to Christmas time.


"Funnily enough - not many people know this - I went down to Kilkenny, it was a guy down in Kilkenny that designed the Christmas card. I gave him the idea about putting the cat into the bin. They sold like hot cakes. It think they were gone in the first week.

"It was all those instinctive little ideas what I used to get a kick out of at the time. Then when they're over, they're over."

The following year, Corbett went into business, setting up a bar in his home town of Thurles. The bar is still a going concern for the 36-year-old. Though, not all went smoothly in the early days.


This was my new thing, this was my new career and I was passionate about it.

Looking back and it's true what people say to you; when you set up your own business, you get six months of a honeymoon period. Your family, friends, relatives and people coming out giving you the turn. Now the turn, that's the honeymoon period. After the six months, things really started to get tough.

It was very, very close back then that the pub mightn't survive, that it could have closed.

You can watch the promo below for Laochra Gael - Lar Corbett which airs on TG4 at 9:30pm on Wednesday, February 28th.

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