Ireland may have missed out on qualification for the 2019 World Cup, but at least they are now an ICC Full Member, says captain William Porterfield, who believes that the situation is far more bleak for the Associate nations who have been excluded from next year's 10-team event.
"There's a lot of things on the horizon [for Ireland]", Porterfield said in the wake of his side's five-wicket defeat against Afghanistan. "In a couple of weeks' time we'll regroup and start preparing for the Test match [against Pakistan]. And we've got a few other fixtures over the summer.
"To some extent we're lucky. We've managed to get where we are. I feel sorry for Scotland, how it ended for them. For them to progress, it's going to be harder."
Scotland were not one of the fancied sides heading into the qualifiers, but they were undefeated going into the Super Six stage, having beaten Afghanistan, Hong Kong and Nepal and tied with Zimbabwe. But defeats to Ireland and West Indies, the latter by only five runs in a rain-affected match, sealed their elimination. In his final press conference, Scotland captain Kyle Coetzer said that he didn't know when his team would next get their chance to progress as a cricketing nation.
"We've got our pathway, as hard as it is, to keep drip-feeding money out to keep improving facilities and things like that, from the ICC," said Porterfield. "I feel sorry for a lot of other teams that are leaving here. Obviously ourselves and Afghanistan got elevated [to Full Member status], which we're grateful for."
Porterfield criticised the limited opportunities available to teams below cricket's top tier, as well as the structure of the World Cup next year. That tournament will be limited to only ten teams, with the format of the group stage ensuring that teams likely to attract large television audiences, such as India, England and Australia, will be guaranteed nine games.
"Every 208 weeks you've got a six-week competition so two or three big teams can play nine games on TV, so that the ICC can cash in with a big cheque," said Porterfield.
"And a lot of teams will leave here with nothing in their pocket. Scotland have come so close and yet so far themselves, but what have they got to look forward to for the next few years? It's going to be so hard for them to try to get money out of the ICC to improve things.
"We got the opportunity in 2007 to play in the World Cup and we knocked out Pakistan, we tied with Zimbabwe, we got to the Super Eights and we beat Bangladesh. We took down England in 2011 with a couple of games over four years. It was the same going into 2015. They tried to make it a 10-team World Cup last time with no qualification. It's now a 10-team World Cup with two spots.
"It's not hard, with the big cheques they're getting now, with India getting nine games on TV, England getting nine games, Australia getting nine games, that has to be pushed back down through the ranks. All I hear is how good this competition has been, and how everyone has beaten everyone. [Money] has to be put back into the game, for the countries that don't have a World Cup to look forward to, or the possibility of getting to the World Cup."
"I'm not just saying this because we didn't get there this time, but I feel sorry for a lot of countries that are leaving here, and they don't know what's going to happen next week."