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Simmons furious after Ireland clash is rained off

By Ian Callender

National coach Phil Simmons slammed the Clontarf groundstaff for not covering the whole square after the second one-day international between Ireland and Sri Lanka was abandoned without a ball bowled.

The predicted heavy overnight rain delayed the start but when the rain returned at 11am, 15 minutes after the scheduled start time, only the pitch was covered and it was another hour before tarpaulins were put over the rest of the square. The damage had been done and umpires Richard Kettleborough and Richard Smith ruled there was no chance of play shortly after 2pm.

"It was not as if the outfield was sodden or it was raining all the time," said Simmons.

"The whole of the square should have been covered. It was disappointing to lose the first game on Tuesday but not nearly as disappointing as missing out on the chance of a second match."

This will be the only time this summer that the full Ireland squad will be together because there are only another six days' cricket, three against Sri Lanka A at Stormont and Coleraine in July and three ODIs against Scotland in Malahide in September, but Cricket Ireland cannot insist on the county players' release. The World Cup starts in February.

Meanwhile, Instonians will face Niall O'Brien in the big first round Irish Cup tie tomorrow. The Ireland international is staying in Dublin to play alongside his brother, Kevin, for Railway Union.

The joint NCU league champions are one of three NCU teams heading south, along with three from the North West on the busiest day of the season. There are also four games in the NCU and five in the North West.

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