It's not called Ireland's Fittest Family for no reason, and as last night's episode proved the competition is tough for even a former camogie champ.
Anna Geary became the first coach to be eliminated in this year's show, after seeing her two families knocked out in the gruelling quarter finals. First were the Doyles from Derry, and last night we saw the Brackens from Meath leave the competition.
Fiercely competitive herself, there's no doubt the star athlete took the loss as a blow, but she's staying positive for next year's show.
"It is never easy to get eliminated from any competition", she says, "and I think like that, it is probably extremely difficult to take as a competitor but ultimately there can be only winning family in the show and for me while I was disappointed as a coach to have been the first out, it was more about the families, I think.
"You see what goes on behind the scenes and how much they invest in it. You see how much it means to them. So, for me I was more gutted that the families went out the way they did."
It was a nail-biting quarter final as the last four families took on the challenging LAKE obstacle course, pushing their way through forest runs, the Eliminator and the dreaded Hanging Tough. It was an incredibly close call, Geary notes.
"I mean you're talking fractions of seconds, like so marginal…", she says. "That just shows the standard of Ireland’s Fittest Family. That families go above and beyond themselves. But I just always feel gutted for the families because you always feel if you can get to a final anything can happen, but it wasn’t to be this year.
"It's just made me more motivated for next year to come back and be the first coach to win three titles."
She added that so much in sport comes down to "luck" and while she ferociously cheered on her families and supported them as much as she could, luck wasn't on her side this year. "Two and a half seconds in an eliminator but look that is the standard, that's sport. There is no errors and there are no obvious things that could have gone wrong", she says.
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This is the first time in a while that Geary hasn't been in the final, she notes, so it feels "raw" for the devoted competitor. However, always the fair sportswoman, Geary noted that her fellow judges are giving back just as much as they get.
"Credit where credit is due, 'Derval the Eliminator O'Rourke’ is absolutely smashing it. She has been in six eliminators and have won all of them", she says.
"Who do I want to see win? They will probably kill me for saying it but I'm going Team Davy."
What a season @FittestFamily turned out to be....the families are brilliant, the new challenges, the surprises, the shocks, the tension, coaches rivalry, smiles, sweat, tears. It has it all! And it's NOT OVER YET💪🏻— Anna Geary (@AnnaGCork) February 7, 2021
What a way to go out though... sooo close #IrelandsFittestFamily
Next Sunday the competition heats up where the competition is finished with 'the Lake’ as we take the remaining six families, deep into ‘the Swamp’.
Derval O’Rourke has an unbeaten record and arrives in the semi final with four families, the Kulczynskis from Clare, the Mileys from Kildare, the O'Rourkes from Galway and the Cullens from Wexford. They will compete against Davy Fitzgerald’s Mahoneys from Wexford and Donncha O’Callaghan’s Allens from Tipperary. Anna Geary crashed out of the competition in the quarter finals.