Annadale's Paul Pollock was in a class of his own yesterday when he decimated a quality field in the Woodie's Irish Counties Cross Country Championships at Santry, Dublin.
The 27-year-old Holywood doctor had a 300-metre victory margin over the opposition in an impressive display of front running which bodes well for his prospects in the European Championships in Belgrade in three weeks' time.
The World Championship marathon runner always seemed in command even in the early stages when he had the company of around a dozen other athletes.
However after the 4k mark, Pollock suddenly upped the pace which was only covered by Waterford's David McCarthy, who is already pre-selected by Ireland for Belgrade. McCarthy faded thereafter as he was passed by Michael and Dan Mulhare of Laois plus Stephen Scullion from South Belfast, who was fighting grimly for a place on the Irish team.
However no one could cover a further increase in the pace from Pollock and at the finish he had over a minute to spare from runner-up Michael Mulhare . He was followed by brother Dan and Scullion, who went one better than last year's fifth place.
County Antrim's Ryan McDermott finished an outstanding 11th to beat arch rival John Travers. As the first U23 finisher, Ryan now stands an excellent chance of being selected for Belgrade. Final selections will be made next Monday.
Afterwards a jubilant Pollock said: "I am very happy with that win. I am in really good shape and I feel I am in the sort of form to win in Belgrade."