Paul Pollock retains Irish Inter-County Cross Country title

Paul Pollock in action at last year's World Championship marathon where he finished 21st
Paul Pollock finished 19th in the 10,000m at this year's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow

Paul Pollock booked his place at the European Cross Country Championships in Bulgaria next month as he retained his Irish Inter-County title on Sunday.

Holywood's Pollock showed his recovery from the injury which ruled him out of the European marathon as he held off Mark Hanrahan and Mick Clohissey.

The race became an exciting battle between the trio in Dundalk after they hauled in early leader Dan Mulhare.

Fionnuala Britton took a dominant win in the women's race.

The double European Cross Country champion finished 75 seconds clear of Cork's Michelle Finn with Kerry woman Laura Crowe taking third.

Britton will be hoping to win her third European title in Samokov on Sunday, 14 December after finishing fourth in Belgrade last year..

Pollock had to produce a late sprint to clinch the men's title on the Dundalk Institute of Technology course.

The county Down man only resumed training six weeks ago after being forced to pull out of the marathon at the European Championships in Zurich because of a hip injury.

"I sat in and tried to surge at certain times but I didn't have the power to move away so I decided to sit in and make my move in the closing stages," said Pollock after his way.

Fourth placers Brendan O'Neill and Sara Treacy have also secured European berths while the other two places in both senior squads will be confirmed by Athletics Ireland on Tuesday.

Tullamore's Liam Brady won the men's under-23 title ahead of Clonliffe's Brandon Hargraves while Annadale's Ryan McDermott will hope that his third place is also enough to ensure European Championship selection.

Portlaoise's Mary Mulhare won the women's under-23 title with the junior titles going to UCD's Con Doherty and Mullingar's Orlaith Moynihan.