Annadale's Paul Pollock relishing Ireland's Euro bid after injury
Annadale's Paul Pollock is today recuperating from his superb performance in the weekend's Irish Inter-Counties Cross Country Championships at Dundalk where he overcame an injury-strewn few months to snatch his second successive victory.
The 28-year-old doctor will now lead the Irish team in the European Championships in Bulgaria in three weeks' time.
Pollock plus three other Ulster athletes are likely to be named in the Irish squad to be announced this week.
Pollock's fitness was unknown prior to the event as he had missed weeks of training because of a labral tear in his hip which prevented him racing for Ireland in the European Marathon last August.
He finally returned to training last month and with only one race behind him it was uncertain as to how he would perform in Dundalk against the best in Ireland.
He stayed in a group of six for much of the 10k race behind early leader Dan Mulhare, who was third a year ago. With two laps remaining, however, the group had reduced to three with Pollock being accompanied by Leevale's Mark Hanrahan and Raheny's Mick Clohisey.
On the final lap, Clohisey's attempts to break clear failed. Pollock then forged ahead with 200 metres remaining to secure his second win by just two seconds from track specialist Hanrahan followed by Clohisey.
Afterwards, an exhausted but jubilant Pollock said: "I was delighted with that as I didn't know what form I was in.
"I only started training again six weeks ago but things started coming together. I tried to break the field several times but I didn't have the strength to follow through. The last lap was about hanging on. I am now looking forward to the Europeans where hopefully I will improve again."
Pollock's Annadale team-mate Ryan McDermott said he couldn't believe that he had secured his second successive European selection by finishing third in the U23 race behind winner Liam Brady of Tullamore.
Former double European champion Fionnuala Britton enjoyed her fifth Irish win with a one-minute victory margin over Leevale's Michelle Finn. Britton commented that she felt better than a year ago and was aiming to make another podium position in Bulgaria.
Strabane-based Anne Marie McGlynn has probably ensured Irish selection again courtesy of her sixth place which just edged out Newcastle's Kerry O'Flaherty. In the Women's Junior event, Ulster's Clodagh O'Reilly secured her place with third overall and first in the U18 race.