Des Smyth faces a massive battle to end Ireland's ten-year drought in the Irish Seniors Open at Ballyliffin.

The Drogheda ace, 55, crafted a three-under par 68 in blustery conditions to take a slim, one-shot lead over Spain's Juan Quiros and England's Gordon J Brand on three under par.

But with Scots Bill Longmuir and Sam Torrance lurking just two shots off the pace on one-under and Ian Woosnam only four behind after a 67, Smyth knows it won't be easy with high winds forecast.

Smyth said: "I'd prefer if the wind didn't blow too hard tomorrow. People say I am a great wind player but I don't want to be trying to hang on to par on every hole.

"This is a title I would want to win more than any other apart from the British Seniors. Last year I won in Wentworth and went back to the US and had some good finishes. I'd love to win tomorrow and I will be giving it my best."

Out in two-under par 33, Smyth birdied the 11th and 13th to get to four under but bogeyed the par three 17th and failed to birdie the par-five last.

"I had a 66 within my reach but just let it get out of my hands today," Smyth added. "Still I played well and I am very pleased with a 68."

Cork's Denis O'Sullivan carded a 70 and is just three shots behind Smyth on level par alongside Costantino Rocca.