Gary Murphy revived his chances of making next week’s finals when he fired a second round 69 at the second stage of the European Tour Qualifying School in Spain.

Less than a year after retaining his card in the six-round marathon at PGA Catalunya, the Kilkenny man found himself back at school this week after a disastrous campaign.

His form was so disappointing that he finished 227th on the money list, making just six cuts and a mere €19,152 from 27 starts.

That meant he did not even secure a place in the q-school finals and instead he has been forced to go the long way round and earn his place in Girona by joining 300 players in one of four, second stage qualifiers in Spain.

After opening with a three over 74 at El Valle Golf Resort in Murcia, Murphy looked destined to seek his fortune on the mini tours in 2011 but his two under second round at least gives him a chance of making it to the next stage.

At two over par, he’s tied for 37th entering today’s third round, 10 shots off the lead but just two shots outside the top 20.

At the same venue, former soccer star Stephen Grant slipped back to three over after a 74 with Mallow’s Mervyn Owens (73), tied 50th on five over and Warrenpoint’s Barrie Trainor (73) a futher shot back in 54th on plus six.

At Arcos Gardens near Jerez, it was another disappointing day for the Irish. Gareth Shaw posted a second successive, two over 74 to share 34th on four over with Jonathan Caldwell two shots further back in 46th after a 79.

Derry’s Michael McGeady followed his opening 76 with an 83 to share second last place in the 73-man field on 15 over.

At Hacienda del Alamo in Murcia, Muskerry’s Niall Turner is tied 57th on three over after a 73. Royal Dublin’s Niall Kearney was tied 44th after the opening round at Costa Ballena in Jerez where Damian Mooney opened with a two under 70 on Friday.

Reigning Irish PGA champion David Mortimer opened with a 75 there with Cork’s Michael Collins taking a 76.