What you can do is the following;
Add a file called ROOT.xml in /conf/Catalina/localhost/
This ROOT.xml will override the default settings for the root context of the tomcat installation for that engine and host (Catalina and localhost).
Enter the following to the ROOT.xml file;
<Context docBase="<yourApp>" path="" reloadable="true" />
<yourApp> is the name of, well, your app.. :)
And there you go, your application is now the default application and will show up on http://localhost:8080
However, there is one side effect; your application will be loaded twice. Once for localhost:8080 and once for localhost:8080/yourApp. To fix this you can put your application OUTSIDE /webapps and use a relative or absolute path in the ROOT.xml’s docBase tag. Something like this;
docBase="/opt/mywebapps/<yourApp>" path="" reloadable="true" />
And then it should be all OK!