Shannon Development & the Shannon Region Conference & Sports Bureau have teamed up with Rugby League Ireland & Thomond Park to launch a bid for Limerick’s right to host games in the 2013 Rugby League World Cup. The official ‘Back the Bid – Limerick 2013’ campaign was launched today, July 12th, in Thomond Park with a call for the people of Limerick to support the bid and help secure yet another high profile sporting event for the region.
The 2013 Rugby League World Cup is being hosted by England and Wales but the opportunity exists for Ireland to play one or more home games should the right city bid be put forward. The draw has already been made with Ireland facing matches with England, Australia & Fiji. If Limerick was to be awarded host city status, the possibility of the tie with Australia being played in Limerick would be a real possibility. In addition to bringing thousands of Australian supporters to city it could also see a return to Limerick for well known Australian Rugby League team owner & close friend of the late Richard Harris, Oscar winning actor Russell Crowe.
Speaking at the ‘Back the Bid – Limerick 2013’ launch, Gordon Matthews, General Manager, Rugby League Ireland, explained, “Ireland had a very successful 2008 World Cup in Australia and we are hoping to build on that success further in 2013, preferably with the help of some passionate home support. We are delighted therefore that due to help of Shannon Development, The Shannon Region Conference & Sports Bureau & Thomond Park that we are in a position to put forward an impressive case to the organising committee to play one or more of our group games in Limerick and specifically Thomond Park. The boost to Rugby League in Ireland to potentially host the likes of Australia or Fiji in a venue such as Thomond Park would be enormous and we are very hopeful that our bid will be successful.”
Speaking at the launch Paul Ryan of Shannon Development spoke of his excitement at the region bidding for such a prestigious sporting event. “Sports tourism in an important economic driver within the Shannon region and it results in an excess of €60 million of an economic impact annually. A world cup game alone could be worth in excess of €2 million. Hunting international sports events is something we engage in on a daily basis and we are delighted in this instance to be working with Rugby League Ireland on this opportunity with our partners in the conference and sports bureau and Thomond Park. However events like this do not just happen without a lot of support so I would encourage everyone in Limerick and Mid West to support the ‘Back the Bid – Limerick 2013’ campaign on our Facebook page. The more people supporting the Bid the more likely we will be part of a global sporting event in 2013. Bidding for such an event in this special year when Limericks reigns as “European City of Sport” only helps to re-enforce Limericks status as a sporting city of merit.”
Karen Brosnahan, Shannon Region Conference & Sports Bureau believes Limerick has all the right attributes to become a host city for the 2013 Rugby League World Cup. She explained, “Limerick has not just a hugely passionate sporting public but also has fantastic sporting and social facilities which are renowned worldwide. The combination of these elements play a huge role in winning the World Cup host city bidding process which will be decided in November. The opportunity to further increase the profile of Limerick as the ultimate sporting destination to a worldwide audience through the Rugby League World Cup is something we are hoping to grab with two hands”
John Cantwell, Stadium Director, Thomond Park, added “We are delighted to support this bid for Limerick to be selected as a host city for games at the Rugby League World Cup in 2013. The fact that Limerick can offer Thomond Park Stadium as an international venue of the highest standard is a huge plus for the city and region. We would encourage people to support this campaign; as if successful it will deliver significant economic benefits for businesses and will further enhance the profile and reputation of Limerick and the region”
The bid process officially begins on Friday 15th July with the closing date for applications. A number of site visits will then take place and the Bid Committee headed up by Adam Skerritt, Shannon Development and Karen Brosnahan, Shannon Region Conference & Sports Bureau will make oral presentations on the city’s bid to the World Cup Organisers before a decision is made in November this year. Those wishing to support the campaign to secure Limerick’s status as a host city can do so at the ‘Back the Bid – Limerick 2013’ Facebook page www.facebook.com/backthebidlimerick2013.