Just four of Ireland’s 22-strong contingent made the weekend as high winds and torrential rain took their toll in the Volopa Irish Challenge hosted by Mount Wolseley Hotel, Spa and Golf Resort.
As England’s Stiggy Hodgson battled the elements to card a two under par round of 70 and take a one-shot lead on four under par, rookie professional Dermot McElroy leads the Irish on one over par.
The Ballymena man added a one under par 71 to his opening 74 to share of 18th place with Old Conna assistant Neil O'Briain taking his excellent PGA Irish Region form on tour by carding rounds of 74 and 72 for a share of 30th.
The cut fell at four over par — the highest of the European Challenge Tour season so far — which mean that Cormac Sharvin (71-77) and Chris Selfridge (74-74) survived on the mark.
But there was disappointment for a host of Irish hopefuls with Jeff Hopkins and amateur Colm Campbell Jnr from Warrenpoint missing out by one as a host of bigger Irish names failed to produce their normal bad weather games and fell well short of the required standard.
Headfort’s Rory McNamara suffered in the conditions, adding an 81 to his opening 70 to miss the cut by three.
Former Walker Cup player Hodgson, 26, is one ahead of overnight leader Sam Walker and Wales’s Rhys Enoch.
The Chester man was delighted that he managed to keep his composure in difficult conditions, and is looking forward to tackling the Carlow course again over the weekend.
“I had a really good game plan,” he said. “Me and my caddie George both realised early on that even in good conditions it is not going to be a low scoring day with 16,17 and 18 under par scores – which suits me.
“It was about patience and digging in as it wasn’t a day for perfect golf at all. That worked to my advantage as it takes out the long hitting because you had to shape the ball and you had to flight it so much. If you did that you could make the most of it.
“We just put it in the places where we thought we could make par. A bad shot today was really exaggerated because of the conditions. I played with my good friend Emilio Cuartero Blanco and he hit a few five or six yards off line but it ended up being 30 yards off line because the wind was so strong.
“A couple of things went well out there. There were a couple of tweaks with the driver, which was was really important. The last few weeks I have driven well which is important for me because I am not the longest hitter.
“If I put myself in good positions then I can do what I want with the ball – by shaping it right or left. In these conditions today that was a really big advantage. It was a case today of how good your worst shot was.
“I am out here to do a job and keep going with the same game plan over the weekend. It is only halfway, there are a lot of good players out there, and there is a long way to go.”
Enoch, who was in the first group out this morning, made six birdies on his way to carding a five under par round of 67 – which was the best score of the day.
Bernd Ritthammer, Clément Sordet and Adrien Saddier, who have all won on the 2016 Road to Oman, sit two back on two under par where they are joined by Spain’s Pep Angles.
Leading scores after round two:
140 S Hodgson (Eng) 70 70,
141 S Walker (Eng) 66 75, R Enoch (Wal) 74 67,
142 C Sordet (Fra) 71 71, P Angles (Esp) 70 72, A Saddier (Fra) 70 72, B Ritthammer (Ger) 72 70,
143 R Coles (Eng) 71 72, M Orrin (Eng) 69 74,
144 C Bouniol (Fra) 73 71, A Rai (Eng) 69 75, G King (Eng) 73 71, S Forsström (Swe) 71 73, M Armitage (Eng) 75 69, S Tiley (Eng) 71 73, P Widegren (Swe) 75 69, M Ovesen (Den) 72 72,
145 Dermot McElroy (Nir) 74 71
146 Neil O’Briain (Irl) 74 72,
148 Cormac Sharvin (Nir) 71 77, Chris Selfridge (Nir) 74 74,
149 Jeff Hopkins (Irl) 75 74, Colm Campbell Jnr (am) (Irl) 72 77,
150 Niall Kearney (Irl) 72 78,
151 Rory McNamara (Irl) 70 81, Kevin Phelan (Irl) 75 76,
152 Michael McGeady (Irl) 79 73,
153 Ruaidhri McGee (Irl) 74 79,
154 Jack Hume (am) (Irl) 76 78,
155 Gary Hurley (Irl) 78 77, Gavin Moynihan (Irl) 74 81, Stuart Grehan (am) (Irl) 76 79,
157 Brian Casey (Irl) 78 79.
158 Gareth Shaw (Nir) 77 81, Alan Dunbar (Nir) 79 79,
165 Richard Bridges (Irl) 76 89,
169 Ciaran Boggan (Irl) 90 79,
DQ Richard O'Donovan (Irl) 87 DQ, Conor O'Rourke (am) (Irl) 76 DQ