Brian McElhinney and Paul O’Hanlon are just three shots off the pace entering the third and final round of the PGA EuroPro Tour event at Castle Dargan.
England’s Andrew Thorpe hit a six under 65 to lead by a shot from compatriots Ian Keenan and Justin Evans on eight under at the Darren Clarke designed track just outside Sligo.
Scottish brothers Zach and Elliot Saltman are tied for fourth place with England’s James Freeman and Graeme Clark on six under with the former Irish amateur stalwarts a shot further back in a five-way tie for eighth place.
“I haven’t held an overnight lead as a professional but it’s not something that I’m daunted by,” said Thorpe. “If I do the same things I have been then I will be in with a great chance tomorrow.”
A winner already this season on the Hi5 Pro-Tour, O’Hanlon from the Curragh hit five birdies a four under par 67 as former British Amateur champion McElhinney carded a one under par 70.
The cut fell at three over par 145 with 14 of the 33 Irish entrants making the grade.
Pick of the bunch was former Walker Cup player Noel Fox, who followed a first round 75 with a solid 69 to make it with a stroke to spare on two over.
Tim Rice, Mick Lavelle and Jonathon Mallon are tied 15th on three under, five off the pace, with Ruaidhri McGee, David Rawluk, Barrie Trainor and Mark Staunton on one under.
Cian McNamara, Brendan McCarroll, Michael Collins, David Mortimer, Fox and Michael McGeady were the other Irish to make the top 50 and ties.