LIMERICK Teachta Dála (TD) Willie O'Dea has admitted he is “bitterly disappointed” that Andy Lee’s world title fight with Billy Joe Saunders will no longer be taking place in Thomond Park.
The city is estimated to be missing out on a €10m boost to the local economy as 33,000 fans and media were due to invade the city on September 19.
However, it was confirmed on Wednesday that a virus has set WBO World Middleweight champion Lee back in his preparations, meaning the date and venue in Limerick is not a viable option.
Instead, Lee will fight mandatory challenger Saunders in Manchester Arena on October 10, a bitter pill for Mr O’Dea of Fianna Fáil to swallow.
"The city needs this," he said. "This is shocking news. I am bitterly disappointed. It would have been a huge night in Limerick. There has to be a damn good reason for this."
@IrishPostSport raging I have my hotel in Limerick paid for fir 2 nights, raging
— Ashling Golden (@ashlinggolden) August 12, 2015
Mayer of Limerick city Jerry O’Dea took a more sympathetic stance, acknowledging that a lot of hard work had gone into the event before the latest developments.
Mr O'Dea: "It would have been an opportunity to showcase our city and how far it has come in recent years.
"Andy, his own promoters, Limerick City Council and Thomond Park put a huge amount of work into this. Andy desperately wanted it. I feel very upset for him."