Ireland captain William Porterfield attempted to raise the spirits of a sombre dressing room by reminding his players how proud they should be of their efforts in a memorable Lord’s Test against England.
As with their previous two Test outings, Ireland walked from the field defeated, Chris Woakes and Stuart Broad wiping them out in the final innings of the game for just 38 in 15.4 overs.
The manner of their defeat was drastic - jointly the second shortest in the history of the format and the lowest total anywhere in the world since 1955 - but that is only the final chapter of a story that began in ecstasy on Wednesday morning.
Back then, having lost the toss and been asked to field, Ireland skittled their hosts for just 85.
In a single session they had proved their worthiness of Test status and laid claim to more opportunities against established opponents at the highest level.
“We’re pretty gutted, it’s a quiet changing room, but that is reflective of the position we put ourselves in throughout the game... we had the chance to win it,” said Porterfield. “That shows you how much it hurts.
“But as much as everyone is gutted in the changing room now, I would like everyone, before they leave here, to reflect on what has happened.
“It doesn’t happen every week, the position we got ourselves into.
“We can take a lot from that and look back and reflect and be disappointed.
“That first couple of hours is going to stay with players and Irish fans for a long time.
“To take 10 wickets in the first session of a Lord’s Test was an unbelievable effort and for Tim Murtagh to get up on the honours board is never going to be taken away from him.”
Ireland will continue to fight for more chances in the most prestigious format, and are scheduled to face Sri Lanka next, but do not know when their next game against their neighbours will be.
Scheduling has never been more compressed in the global game and it may be some time before they step out in whites at the home of cricket again.
“We’d love to play games like this every week in front of a full house at Lord’s,” said Porterfield. “Every game we’ve played we have put ourselves to win the game and so a few more games like this will potentially put us over the line.”
In England skipper Joe Root, they at least have a new ally.
“I think they earned the right this week in terms of playing Test cricket,” he said. “It was bowler friendly but they were outstanding with the ball.
“They put us under pressure throughout different parts of the game over two and a bit days.
“We had to scrap to get back into the match.
“I can see them upsetting a few big Test sides in the near future, given the opportunity.”