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Mahers continue brilliant start as they blast through to Ireland’s Fittest Family quarter finals

The race is on to win €15,000 – and the Mahers from Laois continue their fantastic start.

In Round 2 of Ireland’s Fittest Family this evening on RTE One, they finished top of the pile once again.

They are one of three teams belonging to reigning champion coach Anna Geary and the Killeshin family finished first in their time trial tonight to reach the quarter finals.

Tonight’s task saw them take on ‘Quick Sand’ against Geary’s two other families – the McArdles from Down and the Ui Bhraonains from Carlow.

The challenge sees the families climb the 20 metre sand dune in Strandhill, Co Sligo while also carrying two large life buoys behind them.

The Mahers finished in the quickest time and go straight through to the next stage of the competition – avoiding the eliminator.

In Round 1 two weeks ago, the families were split into three heats of five with the first three qualifying for the next round and the bottom two heading for the eliminator.

The Mahers were running away with the race initially until Meave ran into some difficulty but they got it back together and came home in second place to safely qualify to the next stage.

Dad Nicholas is the oldest member of the team and he is very well known in GAA circles as he is currently a coach with the Killeshin senior football team who will contest the Laois championship final on Sunday against Portlaoise.

Nicholas is joined by three of his children – Fionn, Meave and Cara.

All three are members of St Abban’s athletics club and Fionn, who is the oldest, is also part of the Killeshin senior football panel.

Meave and Cara, 19 and 18, are part of the successful St Abban’s ladies team who have claimed the National Premier Division title for the last two years running.

Ending Dundrum South Dublin’s six-year winning streak in 2018, they repeated the feat again earlier this year.

They then went on to represent Ireland at the European Club Championships in Portugal and Finland over the last two years.

They will hope to follow in the footsteps of the Mulhares and the McDonalds who did so well in this competition in recent years.

Last year, the McDonalds, coached by Davy Fitzgerald, lost out in simply heart-breaking fashion in the final in Croke Park.

Martin, Breda, Kate and Cian were cruelly defeated at the very last hurdle by seconds by the Coney family.

The Mulhare family from Portlaoise, appeared in the second series of the competition.

Coached by former Olympian Derval O’ Rourke, the international long distance runners made it as far as the final and were pipped at the finish line by the Kingston’s of Cork.

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