Ireland’s World Cup fate had barely been confirmed before the ICC's official Twitter account had congratulated Phil Simmons' side 'for a wonderful campaign' as well as thanking them for the 'memories, passion and excitement' they had brought to the tournament.
It was a tactful gesture but it was like a guy flaunting a relationship on social media after telling his girlfriend he’d really enjoyed their six-week fling but she needn’t text him again because she just wasn’t the one.
Throughout the tournament, the ICC used social media to engage with the Associates, lauding them for the contributions they were making to the very tournament the governing body wish to exclude them from in the future. It added to the hypocrisy.
As the ICC continue to make FIFA look like Amnesty International, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to decode the whole affair for those unfamiliar with the sport. The World Cup has provided irrefutable evidence that the decision to pull the ladder up on those trying to climb it is farcical.
As William Porterfield eluded to in Adelaide, the show goes on, Ireland slip back into the wilderness and the ICC attempt to brush everything back under the carpet. Normal service resumes, some might say but as John Delaney once coined this country’s domestic football league, Ireland are the ICC’s ‘problem child’.
Ireland are the ones who don’t obey the established order, who upset the bigger siblings and whose actions cause many a sleepless night for those trying to restrain them but what more can be said about the money-orientated, autocratic and unprincipled organisation we call cricket’s governing body that hasn’t already said?
It’s become tiresome listening to Dave Richardson prattle on about competitiveness and window dressing and status and funding and Associates and anything else he has to say for himself from his opulent office in the desert.
In no other sport does a match between two countries have a status based on those sides' rankings. A game between Gibraltar and Oman is on the same standing as a World Cup final between Brazil and Germany and in no other sport is the governing body hindering the development of the game by reducing the emerging country’s opportunities.
But there is more to this than opportunities and the chance to play at a World Cup or the idea of being elevated into a higher status. This directly affects the livelihood of the players, the coaching staff and cricket as a whole on this island.
Throughout the tournament, the players weren’t afraid to let their feelings be known and acknowledged the opening win over West Indies allowed them to open fire without their argument being undermined.
The senior players used the official media commitments as a platform to voice their anger and frustration while others made their retort on Twitter to accentuate the illogical circumstances of the ICC saluting Ireland’s endeavours in charm offensive mode. Ed Joyce admitted much of the online wrangle, although it proved to be a powerful medium, was a little bit ‘tongue in cheek’ but it represented the Irish players’ feelings.
To this point, the Associates have accepted the way in which the ICC govern the sport. Ireland, in particular, have put their head down and got on with it, overcoming obstacle after obstacle in an attempt to prove themselves to the top brass - the so-called exponents of cricket - and gain the recognition and respect their hard work and achievements deserve.
Put simply, why is it too much to ask to be placed on a level playing field? All the fuss about Test status or the downsizing of the World Cup aside, how has it got to the point where the sport, our sport, is being administered by hateful businessmen who have nothing else but profit in mind.
The congested international itinerary designed to drain every last penny from the calendar year means the cricketing bandwagon rumbles on, leaving the World Cup as a distant memory, at an unrelenting rate. This week marks the start of the razzmatazz of the Indian Premier League, England’s salvation tour to the Caribbean and, a little closer to home and more significantly, the County Cricket season.
While playing in the green on the sport’s biggest stage is the ultimate aspiration, the domestic circuit is the bread and butter - the livelihood - for many of the Irish squad. A return to the tranquil settings of Taunton or Grace Road may seem something like cricketing obscurity in comparison to the cauldron of the Adelaide Oval or a sold-out Seddon Park but County Cricket has provided the platform for the individual components of the Irish side to develop and attain the experience to then thrive as a collective on the world stage.
What struck me last season whilst travelling up and down the country to many of the eighteen first-class counties was the impression the Irish players were making amongst a multitude of big-name overseas signings and other internationals.
The esteem and high regard Joyce is held in at Hove is just one example. One visit to the South Coast for a Championship game last year was all that was needed to appreciate his worth to a county steeped in rich history.
Joyce once again leads Sussex this season while Niall O’Brien will hoping to be at the forefront of Leicestershire’s renewal as a winter of wholesale changes, both on and off the field, has engendered a sense of optimism around Grace Road.
For all its detractors, the County Championship, in particular, remains a hugely relevant format and this year is even more significant for the Irish contingent plying their trade across the water with the Intercontinental Cup campaign beginning in June.
The exact details of that competition are yet to be ironed out but what we do know is it’s paramount all of Ireland’s exports are playing regularly throughout the summer to ensure the momentum of Australia/New Zealand is maintained.
George Dockrell’s Somerset career hit a roadblock last year under Dave Nosworthy, Paul Stirling was unable to hold down a place in the Middlesex side and Andrew Balbirnie wasn’t given the opportunity at Lord’s despite scoring heavily for the seconds.
All three will be desperate to ignite their county careers on the back of the World Cup. Balbirnie, in particular, grasped his opportunity to showcase himself on the biggest stage and that in itself is why there is so much anger and frustration being levelled towards Dave Richardson and his comrades.
The World Cup provides players with the stage to put themselves in the show window, not as window dressing, but to earn county or franchise contracts and if that is no longer a possibility then their livelihood is also on the line.
Ryan Bailey is a sports journalist with The42.ie and freelances for ESPNcricinfo. You can follow him on Twitter @RyanK_Bailey.