The last quarterfinal of Ireland's Fittest Family brought us back to Dublin Docks where another set of families took on the Hanging Tough challenge in a bid to score a place in the semifinals.
The tension was palpable among the four families and the coaches, not least for Derval who lost a family last week and was under pressure to secure a place for her family, the . If they go home, so does she. The rest of the coaches were warring with another over "bad blood", as Donncha O'Callaghan put it, making for one of the most fraught episodes we've seen thus far.
We got an insight in the different training styles of the coaches and the teams themselves, with Davy Fitzgerald putting the Pierses from Kerry through a grueling gym session, Donncha doing some light training with the Lawlors from Limerick in the outdoors, the Finnegan-Hogans impressing Anna Geary with their initiative in building their own training wall and the Finnegans showing Derval their specially designed training garden.
This week also saw two related families face off, as the Finnegans took on their cousins, the Finnegan-Hogans.
Fan-favourite challenge, Hanging Tough, made its second appearance this season, weeding out the brawny families from the well-rounded ones. The test is a brutal one, requiring team members to hold onto a bar 20 ft above the Irish Sea, using only their upper body strength to stay put. Whereas in seasons past this was the challenge to cripple many families' hopes of being named Ireland's Fittest Family, this season the standard has risen as more families train specifically for that test.
The amount of time spent by each family member is added for a group total, and the two families with the longest time on the bar progress to the semi finals, while the remaining two battle it out on the Eliminator course.
The Pierses are the first to go up, eventually finishing with 7:58 combined time on the bar. The Lawlors were up next, with the three brothers encouraging each other and mother Dympna overcoming her fear of water to stay on the bar for the longest of her family, but clocking in at 7:33 minutes total on the bar.
The Finnegans were up next, with Derval encouraging them to recite songs to keep focused, clocking in at 7:38 minutes on the bar. Finally, the Finnegan-Hogans finished strong with 13:16 minutes on the bar, thanks in a large part to the incredible performance of grandfather Martin (63) who stayed put for 7:40 minutes, breaking the record set last week by Martin McDonald.
The teams then faced off on the Arena Challenge, which tasked them with carrying 15 sand bags along a balancing beam, over a wall and up two cargo containers, with the two fastest families going to the semifinals. Those two teams were the Lawlors and the Finnegan-Hogans, who charged ahead with strategy and cooperation.
Sadly, it was the Finnegans who were sent home after finishing second in the Eliminator, meaning that Derval had to go home too. Saying she was "disappointed", she assured the Finnegans that they "were a pleasure to coach".
With such drama and tension, it's no wonder that Twitter was abuzz last night...
The Sunday ritual
Enjoying watching #IrelandsFittestFamily while lying down. After eating a huge burger and thinking about wine to drink this evening.... and don’t forget the cream cake in the fridge ?? pic.twitter.com/vjs4U81CAS— BMLMedia (@BMLMediaIre) November 25, 2018
All about that forward planning