THE last time Ireland played Hong Kong in a Twenty20 international, William Porterfield and Andrew Balbirnie took Ireland to their target of 121 without losing a wicket.

Yesterday, just six months on, Hong Kong turned the tables, emphatically, winning by 40 runs in a game which only highlighted Ireland's downturn in the shortest format of the game.

Ireland head coach John Bracewwell admitted before the game that this two-match series would be a learning experience and ahead of today's clash at Bready (3.30pm), there was certainly plenty to ponder.

Having selected three uncapped players in the squad, the Kiwi had no hesitation in giving debuts to Jacob Mulder, Lorcan Tucker and Josh Little, the latter, at 16 years and 309 days, becoming the second youngest to play for Ireland.

By coincidence the youngest, Greg Thompson was playing his first international for eight years and it was the Waringstown batsman who was the big positive. Thompson took his superb club form from the last season and a half into the game and top scored with 44, from just 32 balls; his seven boundaries were as many as the rest of team managed between them.

Only while Kevin O’Brien, with a lusty 32 from 24 balls, was in the middle with Thompson did Ireland even threaten to chase down Hong Kong’s above par 169 but there was really no way back from 24 for four as Tanwir Afzal, the tireless opening bowler from the I-Cup game between the teams last week, and Nadeem Ahmed, their best bowler, ripped through the Ireland top order.

Porterfield scored 75 not out in that World T20 warm-up game in March but this time he tamely hit his fifth ball straight to mid-off, and when Sean Terry’s defensive technique was exposed in the next over, David Rankin, in his second international and James Shannon, on his first Ireland appearance since November 2013, were thrust together. They both departed within three balls and after Thompson was caught in the deep, trying to maintain the momentum, the tail folded quietly.

At the start of the day Little, who has a very good change of pace, showed great promise for the future, conceding just six runs in his first two overs, while Craig Young’s same spell disappeared for 34 and O’Brien’s first over cost 14.

Mulder will also get another chance today after an encouraging debut - he was hit for only two boundaries and his first wicket was top scorer Nizakat Khan's whose 62 runs took his tally in three innings against Ireland to 254 in the last week.