Belfast Telegraph

Newly-crowned Irish champion Pollock sets European target

 

By Robert Jones

Paul Pollock says he should be aiming for a top-10 finish at next month's European Cross Country Championships after his Irish title win on Sunday.

Pollock earned a dominant Abbotstown win after taking the lead at halfway.

"This is probably as good as I've felt going into a European Cross," said Pollock, whose best finish in the event was 23rd in Bulgaria in 2014.

His Dublin triumph means he will lead the Irish men's challenge in Samolin, and he is part of a strong Northern Irish representation with women's Abbotstown runner-up Kerry O'Flaherty also selected along with Armagh AC's Fionnuala Ross plus junior men's duo Craig McMeechan (North Down) and James Edgar (City of Lisburn).

Twice winner Fionnuala McCormack will head the Irish women's team after missing Sunday's nationals when Shona Heaslip won ahead of Newcastle woman O'Flaherty.

Surveying the British trials results from the weekend has given Holywood man Pollock belief that he can be competitive in Slovakia.

"Ben Connor won the British trials and I actually beat him when I finished second at the Leeds Abbey Dash 10K earlier this month," added the Rio Olympian.

"In addition, Sam Stabler, who won the race in Leeds, finished third in the British trials and I was only seven seconds behind him a couple of weeks ago, which was my first race back after the injury I had in the summer.

"The top British guys are usually there or thereabouts at the Europeans so that does give me a certain amount on confidence going into next month.

"I have never run that well at the Europeans but I'm good shape and feel I should be aiming to finish in the top 10."

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