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Ex-coach Simmons is relishing his reunion with Ireland

By Ian Callender

West Indies are the latest side to confirm they will be coming to Ireland next year for a one-day international.

The game will take place on Wednesday, September 13, 2017 - two days after their three-match Test series ends at Lord's and three days before a T20 international against England in Durham.

Although 14 months is a long time in cricket - especially West Indies cricket - it should be a first visit back for Phil Simmons since he quit as Ireland coach in March 2015 to take up the same position with his home nation.

"I'm really looking forward to bringing the West Indies team to Ireland," said Simmons.

"I had eight great years there as coach and made some lasting friendships as well as winning trophies. It should be a tough contest and Irish conditions will be ideal in helping our preparations for England."

Ideally, Ireland would have preferred at least a two-game series but the gap between their commitments in England was just too small. It still means Ireland will face eight of the top nine in the world in the space of 15 months - only India are missing from Ireland's opponents.

After two games against Sri Lanka last month, they face Afghanistan in a five-match series at Stormont, starting on Sunday, followed next month by two games against Pakistan in Dublin before the squad head to South Africa in September to face the hosts and World champions Australia in back-to-back ODIs.

Next year, they will meet England in Bristol and Lord's and Cricket Ireland yesterday confirmed that the tri-series with New Zealand and Bangladesh will start the following weekend with Ireland against the Tigers on Friday, May 12.

The rest of the dates are: May 14 Ire v NZ; May 17 NZ v Bang; May 19 Ire v Bang; May 21 Ire v NZ; May 24 NZ v Bang. No venues have been confirmed.

It's T20 finals day in the NCU tomorrow with Lisburn and Waringstown hosting the semi-finals in the morning with the final at The Lawn due to start at 4pm.

Waringstown face North Down in a repeat of last year's semi-final, which the Villagers won by nine runs, while Carrickfergus, who meet Lisburn, will hope to go one step further than 2015 when they lost to eventual winners CIYMS.

The NCU's Emergency Committee have also confirmed that the Challenge Cup semi-final rained off at Belmont last Saturday, between CI and Carrick, will take place on Sunday, July 17 - unless this Sunday's Irish Cup quarter-final between CI and YMCA is postponed.

In that scenario, the semi-final will take place next Saturday in place of the scheduled league game between the teams. If a third match attempt is needed, it will be a T20 on Tuesday, July 19.

After last week's Senior Cup semi-finals in the North West, it's back to league action tomorrow with cup finalists and league leaders Coleraine at home to Eglinton, while cup holders Donemana host Drummond whose big game is on Sunday at Strabane, the other team who have lost their first four games.

FIXTURES, Tomorrow (11am) Lagan Valley Steels T20 Cup semi-finals: Carrickfergus v Lisburn (Wallace Park, 10.30am), North Down v Waringstown (The Lawn).

Final: The Lawn (4pm).

Ulster Bank League Section One: Academy v Donaghcloney, Armagh v Saintfield, Ballymena v Bangor, Lurgan v Downpatrick, Woodvale v Muckamore. Sunday: Armagh v Lurgan (T20, 1pm), Saintfield v Muckamore.

Section Two: Cregagh v Millpark, Dundrum v Cooke Collegians, Holywood v BISC, Templepatrick v Laurelvale.

Section Three (noon): Ards v Dungannon, Donaghadee v Newforge, Dunmurry v Victoria, Larne v Monaghan.

Long's SuperValu Premiership: Ardmore v Strabane, Bready v Brigade, Coleraine v Eglinton, Donemana v Drummond. Sunday: Ardmore v Bready, Strabane v Drummond.

Championship: Bonds Glen v Killyclooney, Burndennett v Ballyspallen, Newbuildings v Glendermott, St Johnston v Fox Lodge.

Sunday (10.45am): One-day international: Ireland v Afghanistan (Stormont).

Irish Senior Cup quarter-finals (12.30pm): CIYMS v YMCA, Instonians v Phoenix, Waringstown v North County, Merrion v Derriaghy. Sam Jeffrey Shield: St Johnston v Glendermott.

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