Local hero Colm Moriarty fed off his home support to grab a share of second place in the Challenge of Ireland at windlashed Glasson.

Battling winds gusting up to 30mph the touring pro for Glasson Golf Hotel, 28, delighted his fans when he hit three birdies in his last eight holes for a two-under par 70.

Scot Richie Ramsay posted a 70 to lead on eight under par with Moriarty just a stroke off the pace with England’s Richard Bland (69) on seven-under.

But the home favourite refused to look too far ahead despite the fact that a win worth €24,000 would catapult to the fringes of the top 20 money winners who will get full tour cards at the end of the season.

Moriarty said: “I am not looking beyond the first tee shot tomorrow. I played really nicely yesterday and maybe a bit scrappy today but the conditions probably led to that.

“I have been saying all along that it is just another tournament. It is on my home course which is probably a bit of an advantage here or there but you still have to put the ball in the hole

“It was tricky and knowing the course was an advantage because you know where you want to be hitting your shots in from and where you can't go.

“There are areas where you just can't be and I avoided all of those today. It was a good solid round in the conditions, unquestionably.”

Looking for his second Challenge Tour win since he made the breakthrough in Wales last year, Moriarty drew the biggest gallery of the day and confessed that he got the best of the draw despite the stiff wind.

He said: “These things even out. But we definitely got the best side, especially yesterday.”

Out in level par, he bogeyed the 10th but was delighted to bounce back with birdies at the 11th and 12th and then pick up another shot at the par-five 17th.

He said: “I made two very good birdies on the 11 and 12, which were playing tough. They were two good shots and they turned the round around for me I suppose.

“I holed a nice 12 footer to save par on the 16th and another nice 12 footer for birdie on the 17th.”

Stackstown’s Michael McDermott followed his opening 64 with a wind-blown 75 but it still just three off the pace in a share of fourth on five under.

Waterville’s David Higgins got the worst of the conditions for the second day running but survived morning rainstorms to shoot a 74 that left him tied for seventh with Lurgan’s Gareth Shaw (71) on four under.

Birr's Justin Kehoe also got a boost when he hit a second successive 71 in the worst of the weather to share 19th place on two under.