Can Tuam family hang on to make the semi-finals?

TUAM’S O’Rourke family will have huge support throughout North Galway this evening (Sunday) as they compete for a place in the semi-final of this year’s Ireland’s Fittest Family.

Dad Tomás and his children Dara, Fiona and Aoife enthralled the nation last month as they navigated their way through the heats of the RTE One competition.

This evening's show will see the family take on the gruelling Hang Tough challenge, where they will hold on to a bar 20 ft above a lake, using only their upper body strength to remain in place. They will also compete in the Pontoon of Pain water obstacle course in a bid to make the final eight of this year’s contest.

The family are steeped in GAA with Dara a member of the Tuam Stars senior team. Younger sisters Fiona and Aoife both play for Tuam-Cortoon with Aoife also representing Galway at under age level.

Speaking to The Tuam Herald this week Dara said that all the training in the world couldn’t have prepared the family for the challenge they faced.

“We’d all consider ourselves fit with the football we play but until you get there you’ve no idea what you’re facing and some of the challenges really did push us to the limit,” he said.

“We’ve watched the show down through the years and all of us were dying to have a go at the ramp but when it came to it, after a day’s competing in the other events, to have to face into the eliminator was incredibly tough. You could see the delight on our faces when we managed it because it was so hard.”

Response from Tuam has been incredible

Dara, a postman, said the response from people around Tuam since they appeared in the show last month has been incredible.

“People are still stopping me on my rounds congratulating us and it has given a lot of people a lift. We’ve heard people comparing it to watching an All-Ireland final, so that’s been great,” he said.

“We had such an amazing experience on the show so to be able to share a little bit of that with everyone else has been brilliant. It’s a bit mad seeing ourselves on the screen and as the show continues the buzz just keeps growing.

“We remember it all very clearly but they would have done so many interviews with us throughout the filming for it to be cut down to 30-second clips is a bit weird. You’re just hoping you didn’t say anything too cringey on the day.”

Dara will watch the show along with the rest of the family, including proud mammy Catherine, at their home on the Old Road, which he said has been buzzing with Fittest Family chat for the past six months. “We were lucky we were able to chat about it amongst ourselves or we’d have gone mad but it’s great now that we can share the excitement with everyone else,” he added.

Ireland’s Fittest Family is on RTE One this Sunday at 6.30pm.

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