Lawlors carry Limerick’s hopes in final of Ireland’s Fittest Family

Norma Prendiville


Norma Prendiville

Dympna, Jonah, Darren and Matthew Lawlor are heading for Croke Park and the final of the Ireland Fittest Family competition

Dympna, Jonah, Darren and Matthew Lawlor are heading for Croke Park and the final of the Ireland Fittest Family competition

LIMERICK supporters in huge numbers will be getting full square behind the Lawlor family from Shanagolden family when they head to Croke Park later this month with high hopes of bringing home another All Ireland title: Ireland’s Fittest Family.

On Sunday, December 16, the Lawlors, will take on three other families in their bid for the supreme title.

“We are on a high,” Dympna told the Limerick Leader this week. Last Sunday, in the first semi-final, she and her sons Darren, Jonah and Matthew, displayed enormous grit and determination and really demonstrated their mettle in what were some harrowing challenges.

Having emerged victorious in the first challenge of the day, they were beaten on time in the second leg of the challenge and missed a shoe-through to the final despite a sterling performance. Instead, the four had to undergo, yet again, the eliminator challenge.

“It was the hardest thing I have ever done,” Dympna said with feeling. “I was completely shattered.”

It was very hard to pick themselves up and face into the eliminator, Dympna admitted.

“Mentally I don’t know how we did it. We had so little time to recuperate after the first round where Darren and Jonah gave it everything. And then we lost time and that was disappointing.”

There were six walls in the eliminator and they were up against near neighbours, the Pierses from Listowel.

“They were a very fit family. We  knew they were fit. We thought if we could keep within range, stay together we would have a chance.”

As things turned out, their tactics and their close teamwork worked brilliantly, bringing them their dream goal: a place in the final.

It has been a long, arduous journey for the Lawlors who first thought about entering the competition last year.

“We are a family into fitness and sport,” Dympna said, explaining why they got involved. “I would always have been into soccer and football and was a referee with the Desmond League for a few years and I do a lot of running with the West Limerick Athletics Club.”

Jonah, the eldest of her three sons, at 26 has done some boxing and trains regularly with the Rathkeale Boxing Club as does Darren, who is 23.

Darren also trains and plays with St Senan’s GAA Club while Matthew the youngest is a student at UL where he is a regular gym user.

Earlier this year, when they applied to take part,  the four were called to a fitness test in Athlone and from a field of 40 families, they made the first cut and were among the 20 families starting out on the competition. 

Every time since, and sometimes taking the hard way round, they have succeeded in making the cut and moving on to the next stage. Now, they have made the final cut and are heading to Croke Park where it’s down to the last four. We wish them luck. Up the Lawlors. Limerick Abú once more.