Heroic Hogans now one step from ‘Fittest’ glory
14-YEAR-OLD JAY INSPIRES VICTORY IN SEMI-FINAL OF TV COMPETITION
THE Hogan family from Ferns have powered their way to the final of Ireland’s Fittest Family thanks to the heroics of one of the programme’s youngest ever competitors.
Jay Hogan (14) went viral on Sunday evening after scaling the notoriously challenging final ramp all by himself. Having found himself out in front on his own the CBS teenager scaled the steep, slippery summit which has put paid to many a family’s hopes during the show’s six seasons.
As a result Jay, older brother Josh, and parents Tom and Dena, who are coached by Wexford hurling manager Davy Fitzgerald, will now contest the final in Croke Park on RTÉ One on
December 15 at 6.30 p.m.
Yet, despite his exploits and the attention it has brought him, Tom said the youngest member of the team has been taking it all in his stride.
‘ The hype has gone completely over his head, he doesn’t pay too much attention to it, he just sees it as a bit of craic. He’s having a laugh with it at school.’
And with the show having been filmed in the summer Tom said the entire family have been careful to ensure no-one lets the cat out of the bag.
‘ The kids at football have been asking Jay about the result non-stop, even the parents, but he’s saying nothing,’ Tom laughed.
WHILE most 14-year-old boys are looking forward to the Christmas break and wondering if they’re finally too old to stop believing in Santa, young Jay Hogan is coming to terms with life as a minor celebrity in his home town of Enniscorthy.
Alongside brother Josh (17), dad Tom (37) and mam Dena (37), Jay has been featuring in RTÉ’s hit show Ireland’s Fittest Family. And following Sunday’s episode, which saw the Hogans battle their way to the Croke Park final, Jay’s profile has skyrocketed.
As the race with the Uí Bhraonáin family from Carlow reached a dramatic conclusion, Jay found himself out on his own, face-to-face with the notoriously difficult final ramp.
A steep, slippery slope which has bested many an older, bigger foe, it seemed as if Jay would have to wait for the rest of the Hogan family before he could hope to scale the summit. Not a bit of it. Undeterred, the Shamrocks soccer player thundered ahead, making light work of the task, clambering to the top, albeit after a brief struggle, and encouraging the rest of his clan to do the same.
They duly obliged, ensuring the Hogans progressed to the final which will be screened on RTE One on Sunday December 15.
But while all four agreed it was a team effort, those on social media were only interested in one person. As one of the youngest ever competitors on the programme Jay was feted, not just for his exploits over the course of the final challenge but for mounting the ramp with such gusto.
However, according to dad Tom, the teenager is taking it all in his stride.
‘ The reaction was great. He’s probably the youngest to have done it,’ said Tom. ‘But the hype has gone completely over his head, he doesn’t pay too much attention to it, just sees it as a bit of craic. He’s having a laugh with it at school.’
And with the final having been filmed during the summer Jay’s friends have been busily trying to discover the outcome before it is screened to a national audience in a couple of weeks’ time.
‘ The kids at football are asking him about the result nonstop, even the parents, but he’s saying nothing,’ Tom said.
Although Jay’s older brother Josh is currently having to play second-fiddle to the young athlete, their father said the entire experience has been hugely beneficial for them as a family.
‘For a lad of that age to spend time with his parents is rare, but he went training with us every week, went away to the events. It was great for all of us. We’d do our own things usually, our indiviudal sports, but the competition brought us together, it’s something you wouldn’t usually get a chance to do,’ Tom said.
The programme also gave the Hogans a chance to sample life under the tutelage of one Davy Fitzgerald, an experience which coincided with a difficult time in the Wexford hurling manager’s life.
‘It was great working with Davy, he can have the craic but when it’s go time, it’s go time,’ Tom said. ‘We got an insight into why Wexford have been doing so well; he’s a great man manager and is able to read people brilliantly, he knows who to put the arm around and who to try and get a rise out of it.
‘We filmed an epiosde the day after the Tippereary game so you can imagine what he was like that day.
‘He seemed up in the air about everything and we were getting the impression he was going to walk away. He said if it had been any other group of lads he would have gone.’
The Hogans on ‘Ireland’s Fittest Family’.
The Hogan family, Tom, Jay, Dena and Josh.
Jay Hogan cheering on his family from the top of the ramp at the end of Sunday’s semi-final of Ireland’s Fittest Family on RTE.