Belfast Telegraph

Cross country racer Paul Pollock all set for big Euro Indoor showdown

By Brian Hill

Top cross country racer Paul Pollock is virtually certain to be selected to represent Ireland in the 3,000 metres event at the European Indoor Championships in Prague in March.

Sources have indicated that bar injury the Holywood doctor is likely to be included in a small Ireland team following his qualification run in a recent Open meeting in Sheffield.

His time of 7.59.25 was a PB by some 10 seconds and places him top of the Irish Indoors list.

This latest performance indicates Pollock's versatility following his top finishing place for Ireland in the recent European Cross Country Championships .

Locally, Foyle Valley's Keith Shiels starts favourite for the NI and Ulster Junior cross country title on Saturday at UU Coleraine where some 600 athletes will be racing in the various events, which start at noon.

Shiels - much better known as a successful road racer - will be making his first foray into cross country for almost a year.

The former Derry Half Marathon winner will certainly be tested over the 10K heavy mud-prone Coleraine course.

He will be hoping to fend off the attentions of established cross country runners such as team mates Chris McGuinness and Pius McIntyre who both performed well in the recent Malcolm Cup .

Also in contention should be North Belfast's Mark McKinstry, Omagh's Paul Barbour and Springwell's Connor Christie.

Foyle Valley should capture the team title.

Meanwhile in the big Celtic Cross Country International in Meath the Ulster team will be fully tested against Scotland, Wales and the Republic of Ireland.

Beechmount's Christy Conlon and Annalee's Clodagh O'Reilly should do well in their respective events.

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