Damien McGrane played his final nine holes in four under par to make the cut with ease in the Africa Open.
The 43-year old Kells man showed his fighting qualities to join Waterford's Kevin Phelan and Ryder Cup skipper Darren Clarke for the last two rounds at East London Golf Club, where England's Matt Ford shot 66 to lead by a stroke on 11 under par from Spain's Eduardo de la Riva.
As McGrane shot a 70 to make the cut with a shot to spare on two under par, overnight leader Phelan battled to a level par 72 but fell to 14th place, six strokes behind the leader.
Phelan got off to a great start with an eagle three at the third. But three bogeys around the turn halted his progress before he birdied the par-five 15th to get back to level for the day.
Clarke is tied for 24th on four under after a 68 that saw him get off to a great start with birdies at the first, third, fourth and fifth.
While he bogeyed the sixth and ninth to turn in two under 35, he picked up further shots at the 12th and 14th to move onto the fringes of contention thanks to a 26-putt day.
Michael Hoey recovered well from his opening 77 with a 69 but missed the cut by four shots while Peter Lawrie was another six strokes further back after adding a 75 to his 77.
With the wind not as strong for the morning starters, 36 year old Ford took advantage to move to 11 under with an eagle, six birdies and two bogeys.
He was about to spend a winter working for Royal Mail before coming through November's Qualifying School at the tenth attempt.
Ford said: "I don’t think you can ever get all of it out of the round. I missed a short one on 17 and hit a poor tee shot off nine, so those were a couple of mistakes, but you’re always going to make a few of those. I would have taken 11-under at the beginning of the day."