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Casey hails ‘unreal’ result as he claims European U20 bronze

Ennis Track athlete Dean Casey secured a bronze medal at the SPAR European Cross Country Championships on Sunday. 

The Ennis man produced a lung bursting run to secure third place as the Irish U20 team scooped a silver medal.

In his post race interview over in Italy, Casey stated: “For me it’s just unreal. I came thirteenth last year when I know I wasn’t the best so to come third this year shows how much training I’ve done.”

Fellow Irish athlete Nick Griggs finished second as he was pipped on the line. Casey ran the 6km race in 17 minutes and 46 seconds.

He finished six seconds behind the winner from Great Britain Will Barnicoat and five behind Griggs. He was eight seconds ahead of Great Britain’s Sam Mills in fourth.

Ennis Track athlete Mark Hanrahan was also part of the Irish U20 team, finishing 53rd in a race filled with 100 of the best athletes from across Europe.

According to racing enthusiasts, this was arguably the strongest ever men’s U20 field at the European Cross Country Championships, which only serves to highlight the scintillating run produced by Casey and all the Irish team.

Four of the Irish U20 team finished inside the top 20 but for the second year running they were pipped to the team gold by Great Britain.

Casey and Griggs were part of the Irish team that claimed a team silver medal at last year’s SPAR European Cross Country Championships.

The Ennis man finished in 13th during last year’s race as he jumped up 10 places in the space of a year.

The Ennis Track athletes including Hanrahan and Casey will be training hard over the festive period as the club travels to Spain to compete at the ECCC Cross Country Championships.

Ennis Track secured gold in the U20 category last year with hopes high they can medal next February.

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