Phil Simmons heads home as Ireland's struggles continue

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Ireland coach Phil Simmons has decided to return to Trinidad to be at the bedside of his ill mother leaving his Irish side to play their final tour match against Otago without him.

Simmons' departure is yet another blow to Ireland's preparations for the World Cup as they still search for consistency on their tour of Australia and New Zealand.

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Ireland began the tour with back to back defeats against Queensland in Australia. They were also deprived the services of Middlesex duo Tim Murtagh and Paul Stirling due to injuries sustained in their demanding English county season.

They were not the only problems that have affected the side. All-rounder Andrew White suffered a fractured finger and captain William Porterfield has also had to return home due to personal reasons.

The New Zealand leg of the tour has not been great either, losing two of the three games played to Northern Districts and Canterbury. The other game was abandoned with no play possible.

Phil Simmons has a lot of work to do before Ireland start their World Cup campaign but who can fault him for his decision to be with his family in their hour of need. There is more to life than sport after all.

When he returns to the Irish side he will know that there is a lot of work to do to get his side firing on all cylinders for the World Cup. Despite a number of defeats he will have learnt a lot about the character of his squad which will be important going into a tournament. However, victories are what the Irish will crave.

Ireland are due to take on Otago in their final tour match starting on Thursday where they will hope to at least sign off their tour with a rare victory. Ireland's assistant coach Peter Johnson will take charge of this final tour match in Lincoln.

Ireland's tour results

Queensland v Ireland XI at Gold Coast - Sep 30, 2014

Queensland 322/6 (50/50 ov); Ireland XI 92 (30.1/50 ov)

Queensland won by 230 runs

Queensland v Ireland XI at Brisbane - Oct 2, 2014

Queensland 289 (47/50 ov); Ireland XI 138 (33.2/50 ov)

Queensland won by 151 runs

Australian Capital Territory v Ireland XI at Canberra - Oct 7, 2014

Ireland XI 302/8 (50/50 ov); Australian Capital Territory 178 (40/50 ov)

Ireland XI won by 124 runs

Australian Capital Territory v Ireland XI at Canberra - Oct 9, 2014

Australian Capital Territory 305/5 (50/50 ov); Ireland XI 306/9 (48.2/50 ov)

Ireland XI won by 1 wicket (with 10 balls remaining)

Northern Districts v Ireland XI at Hamilton - Oct 16, 2014

Ireland XI 153 (40.4/50 ov); Northern Districts 157/7 (38.1/50 ov)

Northern Districts won by 3 wickets (with 71 balls remaining)

New Zealand XI v Ireland at Hamilton - Oct 18, 2014

Match abandoned without a ball bowled

Canterbury v Ireland XI at Lincoln - Oct 21, 2014

Canterbury 382/6 (50/50 ov); Ireland XI 265 (48/50 ov)

Canterbury won by 117 runs

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