There was also more than a hint of regret over how they lost their final three second innings wickets cheaply this morning, leaving Pakistan with a relatively modest victory target of 160 when an extra 50-60 runs could have caused the visitors serious problems.
Ireland's first Test match in global cricket took a lengthy little spell of 144 years to take place but it started with a bang as, in the opening ball of the match, two Irish players collided firmly with Pakistan batsman Imam-ul-Haq, leaving him sprawled on the deck.
Imam, in particular, looked at ease and was scampering between the wickets - a trait his uncle Inzamam-ul-Haq was not renowned for during his career - as Pakistan reached lunch 52 for three, needing 108 more.
The hosts began the day on 319-7 thanks to Kevin O'Brien's belligerent knock but Ireland's maiden Test centurion was caught off his first ball of the day.
But 22-year-old left-handed opener Imam, himself making a Test debut, responded to the pressure of the situation with a composed 74 not out - his third fifty of the tour following half-centuries in warm-up matches against Kent and Northamptonshire.
"They have a quality line-up but if we had got another couple and break that partnership, then it's completely game on", added Porterfield, reflecting on the missed opportunity to cause another major shock in world cricket.
At that stage, Amir had taken two wickets for no runs in six balls.More news: Gap Apologizes for Selling T-shirt with 'Incorrect' Map of China
Babar was dropped on nine runs in the 19th over when Balbirnie could not hold a catchable chance and the right-hander immediately made Ireland pay by thumping two of his next four deliveries through the covers for boundaries. Now Pakistan were in trouble on a green seamer against green opponents (in Test terms), with their two most-experienced batsmen back in the dressing room.
Although it was nearly inevitable that the upset was too far gone, Ireland further added to a respectable scoreline and outstanding match in general producing a further outing through Stuart Thompson's dismissal of Safraz Ahmed for 8, Pakistan now at 152-5.
Ireland players after Pakistan secured a five-wicket win.
When Pakistan slipped to 14 for three in pursuit of 160, the Irish were in with a sniff of marking their inaugural men's Test with a victory to compare with any.
2002 - For the first time in 16 years, Pakistan enforced a follow-on in Test cricket. Unfortunately, he came back after five years [out] and since he came back he has played every format for us.
What were your highlights from Ireland's first ever Test match?
Kumar Shri Ranjitsinhji scored an unbeaten 154 for England in the 1896 Manchester Test against Australia. It was our first Test match and it was tough on the first day, we struggled a bit with the emotions.