Paul Pollock and Adam McMullen in Ireland team for Euro Indoors

Paul Pollock on his way to victory in Athlone
Paul Pollock on his way to victory in Athlone

Northern Ireland athletes Paul Pollock and Adam McMullen have been named in a 12-strong Irish team for next month's European Indoor Championships.

Holywood man Pollock booked his place in Prague by winning the 3000m at the Irish Indoor Championships on Sunday.

Long jumper McMullen will make his major championship debut after improving his personal best to 7.80m in Athlone at the weekend.

The team also includes another Northern Ireland athlete, Danny Mooney.

Letterkenny club-man Mooney, who like Pollock competed for Northern Ireland at last year's Commonwealth Games, will compete in the 1500m in the Czech capital.

McMullen's leap at the Irish Indoor Championships extended the Magherafelt man's personal best by a huge 32 centimetres.

The jump moved him to second on the Irish all-time list behind national record holder Ciaran McDonagh.

The six foot five inch athlete attributes his improvement over the winter to a "more disciplined approach in training".

"I'll go to Prague and I'd like to do exactly what I did in Athlone," said McMullen.

"There will be a bigger audience, a quicker track and better athletes in Prague so it will be something to look forward to."

Adam McMullen in action in Athlone on Sunday
County Derry long jumper Adam McMullen improved his personal best to 7.80m in Athlone on Sunday

McMullen, now attached to Dublin club Crusaders, has always had ambitions of bettering the eight-metre barrier and that target seems more achievable after his weekend performance.

"It now seems a lot more realistic."

Pollock was the first Irish athlete to qualify for the European Indoors when he set a 3000m indoor best of 7:59.25 in early January and he has been named in the team despite concerns over an ankle niggle.

"I will have to see how my ankle is, I injured it last week, so I will have to asses it over the next two days," said Pollock after his win on Saturday evening.

"I want to try and make it through to the final in Prague and hopefully I can do that."

The Ireland team will be led by the squad's only realistic medal hope Mark English while Donegal-based Mooney will join John Travers in the 1500m.

English is ranked fourth in Europe going into the championships after producing a time of 1:47.17 when finishing sixth in a high-class race in Birmingham on Saturday.

The Letterkenny man backed up that performance by winning the Irish title a day later in Athlone.

"It indicates to me that I am able to put able to put two races back to back and hopefully I can simulate that in the Europeans," said last year's European outdoor bronze medallist.

"I proved myself in Europeans last summer and I am looking to do the same in Prague."

The last time Ireland won a European Indoor 800m was in 1969 when Noel Carroll took bronze after winning the title in the previous three years.

With Ciara Mageean forced out of the championships by a heel injury, 800m runner Ciara Everard will be the only Irish woman in action in Prague.

Ireland team for European Indoors 5-8 March

Men: 400m Dara Kervick (Clonliffe); 800m Mark English (UCD), Declan Murray (Clonliffe); 1500m Danny Mooney (Letterkenny), John Travers (Donore); 3000m Paul Pollock (Annadale Striders); 60m Hurdles Gerard O'Donnell (Carrick-on-Shannon); Long Jump Adam McMullen (Crusaders); 4x400m relay Timmy Crowe (Clonliffe), Mark English, Dara Kervick, Paul Murphy (Ferrybank), Harry Purcell (Trim)

Women: 800m Ciara Everard (UCD)

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