The Community Games finals will not be returning to Athlone, it was revealed late last week.
Competition organisers have opted for The University of Limerick as the home for the finals for the years 2019 to 2021.
Athlone was one of just a few venues shortlisted to host the finals for the three year period alongside UL and NUI Galway.
The games spent seven successful years in Athlone before a dispute saw them moved to the National Sports Campus, Abbottstown, Dublin for 2017.
Local councillors had put their weight firmly behind AIT’s latest bid to see the finals return to Athlone, stressing the importance of the competition to the locality, and insisting that the facilities offered here in the town are second to none.
The board of Aldi Community Games met on Friday, November 24 for discussions before naming UL as the new venue.
Gerard Davenport, Aldi Community Games president, said: “This was a very open and transparent process and in the end the University of Limerick were the successful bidders. I would like to thank the other two shortlisted parties – NUIG and Athlone IT. Aldi Community Games looks forward to a successful three years at our new host venue.”
Mayor of Athlone, Aengus O’Rourke has expressed his disappointment with the news.
“It is very disappointing,” he said. “A lot of effort went into the bid. As mayor, I was in touch with the CEO of the Community Games, John Byrne, and the games’ president, Gerry Davenport on a number of occasions. It was all about making the right pitch. I think we put together a superb bid and I understand we were shortlisted, and I am led to believe it went down to the wire in terms of the decision. Look, it is very disappointing, but I want to wish the University of Limerick all the best in hosting the games.”