Pollock leads strong NI contingent at the Euro Championships

Paul Pollock

Paul Pollock

Four Northern Ireland athletes go in to the white hot cauldron at the Spar European Cross Country Championships in Belgrade, Serbia on Sunday.

Paul Pollock, Stephen Scullion, Ryan McDermott and Ann-Marie McGlynn have all earned their places on the Irish team after top performances in the inter-counties at Santry.

Pollock from the Annadale club had a blistering victory in the trial and looks to be capable of approaching the fifth place finish by Joe Sweeney a couple of seasons ago. The 27-year-old was the second European placer in the world marathon in Moscow and will certainly not fear the opposition which will be led by the French, Italians and Belgians.

Stephen Scullion came fourth at Santry. He was fifth in the Greenmount International taking the Northern Ireland crown in the process and at his best is capable of a top finish.

The Irish squad is useful with Pollock and Scullion joined by brothers Dan and Michael Mulhare, David McCarthy and Sweeney.

Ryan McDermott also Annadale was top U23 in the trial. He leds a team which includes John Travers, U23 record holder over 1500 metres Paul Robinson and American based Shane Quinn, Jake Byrne and Kevin Dooney.

Former junior champion Ann-Marie McGlynn who lives in Strabane but competes for Lifford ran well for fourth in the trials. The Irish team are the defending Ladies champions.

Fionnuala Britton is going for her third consecutive individual title. She has been running well on the continent but will have to watch out for Almenesh Belete of Belgium and Sophie Duarte from France fourth and sixth last time. Marathon star Maria McCambridge from Letterkenny is promoted after the withdrawal of Mary Cullen. Ruairi Finnegan also Letterkenny is on the juniors.

The championships are on BBC2 and also RTE2 tomorrow at 12noon.

The local action on Saturday is at Sixmilewater Park, Ballyclare where Annadale Striders promote the Malcolm Cup meeting sponsored by MacFarlane and Smyth which includes the fourth round of the competitive Athletics Northern Ireland League.

Brendan Teer won the Malcolm last year and will be fancied again along with Declan Reed, Scott Rankin, Keith Shiels, Jarlath Falls, Gareth Hill, Andrew Annett and possibly Bobby Rea winner Ciaran Doherty.

Armagh star Danielle Fegan can repeat her Rostrevor win in the Ladies with Heather Foley, Rachel Gibson, Marina Campbell and Gemma Turley also placing highly.

City of Derry led the mens league after three rounds from Foyle Valley and North Belfast with Springwell ahead of City of Derry and North Down in the Ladies.

Entries will be taken today and the timetable is 1:00 U11 Girls and Boys 0.5 miles; 1:15 U13 Girls and Boys 1 mile; 1:30 U15 Girls and Boys 2 miles; 1:55 U17 Girls 2 miles and U17 Boys 3 miles; 2:20 Ladies and Veteran Men 3 miles; 3:00 Malcolm Cup Senior and U20 Men 4 miles.




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