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It was far from a mucky field in Clarecastle for Dean Casey last weekend as he broke the Irish U20 10,000m record at the Highgate Harriers meet in London.

WATCH: Casey grabs Irish U20 10k record in carnival atmosphere

Ennis Track’s Dean Casey secured a new Irish U-20 10,000m record last weekend in London, the St Flannan’s College student runnning a time of 28.57.34 at the Highgate Harriers Night of 10,000m PBs Meet.

Casey takes over from Abdel Laadjel (29:23.92) who broke Frank Greally’s 52-year-old record in March. The record-breaking performance from Casey continues a remarkable period for the young Ennis star.

Casey was part of the Ennis Track Club team who enjoyed a historic day in Portugal in early February with the Junior Men’s Team capturing the European Club Cross Country Championships title with a stunning display.

The victory in Lisbon was secured due to Dean finishing first in that race while twin brother Dylan crossed the line in second.

Dean also claimed a silver medal at the All-Ireland Schools Cross Country Championships in March, continuing on from his display at the 2021 European Cross Country Championships in Dublin when he helped Team Ireland to an historic silver medal.

Dean’s father Ger, states that the aim was to complete the race in under 30 minutes with his son normally not competing over such a long distance.

“Our plan was to go sub 30 (minutes). Training went very well. Pat (Hogan) decided that this 10k race in London would benefit Dean. It’s a very good competition and Dean will try anything so he upped his training for the extra mileage that he would be running.”

Dean was quick out of the blocks as he and Nadir Cavagna tussled for the lead inside the opening 1,000m. The Italian athlete led by 0.13 of a second after the first 1,000m with the gap remaining the exact same inside the opening two kilometres.

After the four kilometre point, Casey managed to edge back in front as he managed to lead by more than two seconds after 6,000m. With one kilometres to go he was ahead by over four seconds with victory and a potential sub 30 second race within his grasp.

However, Cavagna came storming back as he managed to battle past the backmarkers and pass Casey on the home straight. The Ennis Track athlete managed to dig deep and inch past the Italian athlete.

He crossed the line 0.29 seconds quicker than his rival and in the process he broke the Irish record. Dean ran a 62 second last lap as he closed the show in style.

“It was the closest finish of all the races. You normally don’t get finishes that close over 10k metres. At one stage Dean was 60-70 metres ahead. With 800 (metres) to go they were level.

“Dean didn’t realise that he (Cavagna) was coming because there were so many backmarkers. Then when he realised it was Cavagna, he was behind. It’s very rare to get a pass back like that but Dean dug deep.”

“It was a really good final lap. Dylan would normally be the faster of the two while Dean has had to work on getting that speed. We were laughing about it afterwards because we think the English commentators got Dean mixed up with Dylan because Dean wouldn’t be known for having that pace down the straight. That last kick is something we’ve been working on.”

The Night of 10,000m PBs Meet was held last Saturday evening in a party like atmosphere with beer tents, DJs and fire eaters all part of the experience for this unique competition.

“It’s been described as the Glastonbury of athletics. There is a carnival like atmosphere there. There are beer tents, pizzas and other fast food while they have DJs either side of the track.

“The first race was at 3pm and the last one was at half nine so they have a long day of action. There are fire eaters, jugglers and local dance groups keeping the crowd entertained between races so it’s a great atmosphere.”

With the Leaving Cert fast approaching, the racing will be put on hold until after the exams have finished. Dean and Dylan will still train six times a week with Dean’s time putting him firmly in the mix to compete at the World Athletics U20 Championships in Colombia at the start of August.

The National Senior Championships are taking place on June 25 and 26 with the Morton Games being held in early July. It promises to be a busy summer of racing.

“The plan is not to race until the end of June or start of July. There is a chance of Dean going to the World Championships. They will still be training away, six days a week. The National Senior Championships are on at the end of June.”

“They normally incorporate the Junior Championships into it. We are waiting for clarity on that. We will sit down with Pat (Hogan) and plan out the upcoming events and make sure it works for everyone.”

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