On a day when Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry failed to fire, Cormac Sharvin maintained the Irish push for success at this year's Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Mount Juliet.

Four Irish players made it through to the weekend but it was the non-major winner of the quartet, Sharvin, who leads the way after posting an impressive, bogey-free 69 at the Kilkenny course.

Three birdies in the third round has taken Sharvin to seven-under for the tournament, which leaves him just outside the top 20, and eight shots of leader Australia's Lucas Herbert who will be the man to catch on the final day.

"I played really nicely on the first 14 holes, gave myself loads of chances and I was three under," said Sharvin, speaking to RTÉ Sport after his round.

"It's probably the worst I could have been as I missed a few chances."

And Sharvin said that he was unsure about his form coming into the Irish Open as he had hurt his foot and was playing through the pain.

"I've been injured. I hurt the big toe on my right foot. I played two weeks injured and had an MRI scan and then two weeks' rehab.

"I started back last Friday and [my game] wasn't great, to be honest, but I managed to find something over the weekend when I was practising.

"I've just hit the ball really nicely, It was probably the best I've hit the ball for a long time. So it's nice to be back in control of the golf ball."

Conditions proved quite tough on Saturday as a combination of rain and wind made scoring difficult, and it was evident as McIlroy posted a one-over 73, while Lowry was a shot worse off after a two-over round.

McIlroy made four birdies throughout his third round but was badly hurt by two double-bogeys on the fourth and 16th holes. One further bogey leaves the four-time major winner just inside the top 50 but he is essentially ruled out of contending on Sunday.

The Holywood golfer told RTÉ Saturday Sport afterwards that he has struggled to adapt back to European action this week.

"It is really different and it just takes a while to get used to it," he said. "Even though this is the sort of golf we grew up on, Shane and I haven't played a lot of this sort of style of golf in a decade basically.

"Coming back, it just takes a week or two to get used to some of the lies around the greens, get used to how flat the greens are and not reading too much into it. I talked to Shane a little bit about that yesterday as well.

"It’s trying to get my eye in again, I guess."

McIlroy said that tomorrow's round would focus on sharpening his game ahead of next week’s Scottish Open and then the Open at Royal St George’s after that.

"Hopefully I’ll have a good day tomorrow and shoot a good score.

"My iron play is pretty good, I hit a couple of bad tee shots today and they cost me four shots. Hitting a lost ball right on four and then out of bounds left on 16, out of bounds left was the reaction to missing the previous three drives right.

"I need to figure that out, at least on 16 I committed to what I was trying to do I just didn’t do what I wanted to do."

Lowry, likewise, also posted a damaging double on the third and will now surely turn his attention to defending his Open title in two weeks' time.

Graeme McDowell moved up the leaderboard with a two-under 70 to get to five-under and sits in a tie for 37th.

The Portrush native had a horror start posting three bogeys in a row, but managed five birdies to move back up the leaderboard.

Australia's Lucas Herbert remains the man to beat as he sits on -15, one shot clear of Johannes Veerman heading into the final day.