Irelandís wolves came out snarling on the third morning of their 4-day game against Gloucestershire 2nds taking 4 wickets for the addition of only 75 runs in the pre-lunch session.
Gareth Roderick had added only two to his overnight 81 when he was caught behind off Graeme Hume and Ben Charlesworth followed soon after having added 15 to his 62 before hitting a catch off slow left armer Ross Allen.
Two wickets for leg-spinner Mitchell Thompson followed and the Irish sat down to enjoy their lunch with the home side 238 for 5 wickets.
Further success followed when after the resumption two more wickets for Graeme Hume and a run out by Jack Tector reduced the home side to 257/8 and looked to have put paid to their hopes of establishing a substantial lead by batting throughout the day.
Tom Price a nineteen year old who made his List-A debut against Australia A earlier this year had other ideas however and scored 77 in partnership with Matt Taylor who added a half-century to his five wicket haul of the opening day.
Like Ireland whose final two wickets had added 115 Gloucestershire added 114 for their final two and thus gave the home side an 82 run first innings lead.
A good fightback from the Wolves in the morning and early afternoon sessions.
So a first innings lead of 82 for Gloucester not as large as looked likely at the close of play on Day 2 but one that may trouble an Irish top order that looked fragile in the first innings.
Matt Taylor Irelandís first innings nemesis was not given the new ball. Instead it was Josh Shaw a right arm seamer on loan from Yorkshire who opened up with Ben Charlesworth another seamer who impressed with the bat on the first innings.
And it was Charlesworth who made the first breakthrough claiming the wicket of Marc Ellison for only 3 and with Shaw trapping McLoughlin-Gavin lbw for 8 Ireland were 24/2 still 58 in arrears.
Skipper Jack Tector and Ross Allen added 60 to clear the deficit but Allenís departure lbw to Luke Charlesworth meant Ireland were effectively 2 for the loss of 3 wickets.
There was a final success for the home side Jack Tector falling lbw to the off-spin of George Drissell just two overs before the close of play.
It will be a struggle for Ireland on the final day tomorrow as they ended the day only 26 runs ahead and with only 6 wickets left standing.
They will need to bat a long time into the afternoon of they are to escape with a draw. The tail performed for them first time around, is it too much to hope that they can do it again?
Gloucestershire 2nd XI v Ireland Academy
Close of play on Day 3 of a 4-day friendly at Bristol CC, 3-6 September.
Ireland lead by 26 runs with 6 second innings wickets standing.
Ireland Academy 289 (108.1 overs: N Rock 57, C McLoughlin-Gavin 51, G Hume 47, N McGuire 34, M Thompson 34; M Taylor 5-30, L Charlesworth 2-20, J Worgan 2-60)
Ireland Academy 108/4 (40 overs: J Tector 44, R Allen 31)
Gloucestershire CCC 2nd XI 371 (113.4 overs: G Roderick 83, B Charlesworth 77, T Price 77, M Taylor 50; G Hume 3-45, M Thompson 3-64)
Match continues: Final day of 4 on Friday.