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Connacht Tribune A CONNEMARA clan is aiming to be crowned the fittest family in Ireland – taking on eleven other rivals in what the organisers have billed as the toughest competition to date.

The Ó Gibne clan from Inverin will compete for the title of Ireland’s Fittest Family in a new series starting on RTE One this Sunday at 6.30pm, bidding to win the coveted title and €15,000 prize money.

Deborah Ó Gibne (43), her daughter Afric (14) and two sons Naoise (22) and Con (17) will be up against five other families in the gruelling tunnel challenge in episode one of series five.

Mother of five Deborah works part-time to devote time to writing a novel – while also trying to fit in training and life.  She goes to the gym at least twice a week.

Naoise is a Killary Adventure Centre Instructor, mountain runner and general all-rounder.  He recently won Gaelforce in  Killary.

Con is a fifth year student, avid footballer and hurler, and Afric is a second year student, keen handballer and footballer.  She is also the youngest family member taking part in this series.

This year Ireland’s Fittest Family has a coaching line-up that includes series four winner Anna Geary, GAA legend Davy Fitzgerald, returning hero Derval O’Rourke and first time Fittest Family coach and rugby legend Donncha O’Callaghan.

New tougher locations have been added to the series, which test all aspect of fitness, starting with Camden Fort Meagher in Crosshaven, Co. Cork.

Dark damp underground tunnels terrify the families in the very first event, and it doesn’t get any easier in the eliminator, which the coaches believe to be the toughest course ever featured on the series.

Performance consultant and referee Joe O’Connor said: “Each year the stakes get higher, and this year definitely presents the toughest physical challenges that we have seen to date.  Some Fittest Family hero events like Hanging Tough will return, but new events which see the families tested in ways we haven’t seen before will feature in every episode.”

Discussing his upcoming role in the show Donncha O’Callaghan said: “After watching it at home for years I’m dying to get stuck into Ireland’s Fittest Family…I’m not a coach but I’ve been a member of a family for 38 years so I’ve plenty of experience! And I’m looking forward to playing a few mind games with Davy Fitz!”

Having previously won the second series, Olympic athlete Derval O’Rourke is returning to build on her victory.

“I’m very excited to be returning to Fittest Family.  As the winner of series two I’m out to prove it was no fluke as I take on  Davy, Anna and Donncha. I’;m determined to repeat my success,” she said.

“The one thing that really stands for me this year is the strength of the girls, some of the girls in the competition are the strongest members of the their family.  The lads will have to up their game”” added Davy Fitz.

Presented by Mairead Ronan, Ireland’s Fittest Family goes out on RTE One on Sundays at 6.30pm.