There is an exciting couple of months coming up for the Irish men’s cricket side.

Malahide will be the venue for the country's inaugural Test match against Pakistan, while an announcement about a new stadium and facilities at Abbotstown, Dublin is expected soon.

Ireland joined the game's top tier last June and will face the number 7-ranked visitors at the north Dublin venue between Friday 11 May and Tuesday 15 May.

But before that, there is the quest to qualify for 2019 ICC World Cup.

It begins on Sunday next when Graham Ford’s side take on the Netherlands in the first of their Group A matches. The West Indies, Papua New Guinea and the United Arab Emirates also await Ireland look to gain the two spots available for next year’s tournament.

Ed Joyce, now back playing full-time in Ireland, knows only too well how difficult it will be to make what is now a ten-team World Cup.

"The decision was made a couple of years ago and seems it's now difficult to change that," Joyce told RTÉ Sport.

"It would be great to expand it and have it back at 12, 14 or 16 teams like it has been in the past.

"If we do qualify for a ten-team World Cup then that would be an incredible achievement - certainly our greatest achievement up until now.

"We will be playing very good teams, including the West Indies, Afghanistan and Zimbabwe. They'll be the three favourites with us in fourth. And then the likes of Scotland and the Netherlands will cause some upsets as well.

"It's going to be the toughest tournament we've played in outside of the World Cup."

That said, Joyce believes Ireland’s warm-up, that has included six wins on the spin has them in a good place.

"We have played well in the last two or three months and we seem to be peaking at the right time. Hopefully, we can bring that form into that tournament," he added.

Looking ahead to the historic test match in Malahide, the Dubliner, now in the twilight of his career is just delighted that Ireland’s progress as a cricketing nation has finally been realised.

"We've got to 2018 and we've finally got that Test status. It's a huge game against Pakistan in May. Some of the older guys like myself, Niall O'Brien and William Porterfield are really looking forward to it.

"We never thought that this day would come. We want to put in a big performance."