Mum's the word | 

Ireland's Fittest Family winners kept victory secret from mum who entered them

"We told her on the way home from the final that we didn't win," recalls Patrick. "We jokingly told her that we couldn't get up the ramp."
Lynda and Patrick Kinsella with a photo of Patrick's mum Eileen who passed away on the 15th July. Picture: Patrick Browne

Lynda and Patrick Kinsella with a photo of Patrick's mum Eileen who passed away on the 15th July. Picture: Patrick Browne

Ireland Fittest Family - the Kinsella's from Marshallstown, Co. Wexford. Mum Lynda and dad Patrick with Michael, Caoimhe and David and grandchild Oisin, 18 months old. Picture: Patrick Browne

Ireland Fittest Family - the Kinsella's from Marshallstown, Co. Wexford. Mum Lynda and dad Patrick with Michael, Caoimhe and David and grandchild Oisin, 18 months old. Picture: Patrick Browne

Eugene Masterson

WHEN Lynda Kinsella joined her family in their local pub last Sunday to watch the final of Ireland's Fittest Family she got the surprise of her life.

Earlier this year Lynda entered her clan into the gruelling TV obstacle course, hoping they might be in with a chance of scooping the €15,000 first prize.

When they were selected, Lynda, like hundreds of thousands of other viewers, were left on the edge of their seats each week, watching the contestants pull bales up hills, climb steep embankments, trudge through swamps and scale huge heights and ramps.

But never in Lynda's wildest dreams did she think her husband Patrick (50) and three kids, Michael (21), David (18) and Caoimhe (16) would win the whole thing.

Caoimhe and David Kinsella, Caoimhe is a former European boxing champion . Picture: Patrick Browne

Caoimhe and David Kinsella, Caoimhe is a former European boxing champion . Picture: Patrick Browne

And that's how the canny quartet kept their big secret until last Sunday evening when they joined Lynda and other locals in Redmond's pub in Scarawalsh, near Enniscorthy in Co Wexford, to watch the final on RTÉ1.

"We told her on the way home from the final that we didn't win," recalls Patrick. "We jokingly told her that we couldn't get up the ramp.

"We didn't tell her until we watched it on the television on Sunday as a family. We wanted to keep a bit of suspense there.

"Her reaction was one of shock and surprise when she saw us winning on TV. She knew we had done fairly well and we had gone a lot of the days. But sure we just told her for a joke that we weren't after winning it, to see how long we could keep it up for. We kept it all very tight."

Lynda admits she didn't smell a rat as they had a routine of going to the pub every Sunday to watch the show.

"I don't know how they kept it a secret for so long, I felt like throttling them," she laughs.

"I really believed they had been beat in the final. When I saw them winning I was jumping and shouting. I couldn't believe it, sure it was fantastic to see it. I'm super proud of them all."

She laughed when asked if she should get a share of the winnings for entering them.

"A lovely meal would be nice, a weekend away when things are better," she said.

Plucky Caoimhe was just 15 when she filmed the show during the summer and viewers were amazed to see her run in her socks on a stony path after losing her trainers in netting.

Patrick and son David in the Gym. Picture: Patrick Browne

Patrick and son David in the Gym. Picture: Patrick Browne

"The adrenaline was going so I kept going," she recalls. "My feet were in bits afterwards."

When she attempted to run up the ramp in the last obstacle to help her family win the show, her mentor Anna Geary had a brainwave - telling Caoimhe to remove her socks to get a better grip going up.

"I don't know what we would have done without her," admits Transition Year student Caoimhe.

"I wouldn't have thought of that myself, she made us win it basically. It hasn't kind of sunk in yet. We are a bit overwhelmed."

Caoimhe is putting her share of the winnings into the upkeep of a former racehorse she recently got named Murph.

She and her two brothers are talented boxers, and they also play GAA, hurling and football.

Caoimhe is a big fan of Kellie Harrington and Katie Taylor.

"I'd love to follow in their footsteps, it would be pretty good if I could do that," she says. "I do boxing three nights a week and sometimes he [Patrick] makes me go for runs."

The family dedicated their win to Patrick's late mother Eileen, who died with dementia just weeks before the filming of the final.

"She used to sit down with us and watch it every Sunday evening when it was on," explains Patrick. "We used to joke to her 'we'll win that some day for you'. Then Lynda applied for us without telling us anything about it."

Patrick works as a linesman technician for the ESB.

"I went into work on Tuesday as I didn't go in on Monday, I had a bit of a sore head. My colleagues congratulated us and there a bit of banter saying 'the kids carried you through it'.

"The two lads would be giving me a hand now and again, I wouldn't be as fit as those lads!" Michael is studying to be a teacher and is in fourth year in the University of Limerick, while David is a trainee manager in a local ABP meat factory.

The family was joined at their home in Marshalstown yesterday for Christmas dinner by the eldest Kinsella child, daughter Lauren (24) and her partner Conor and their her one-and-a-half-year-old son Oisín, as well as Lynda's mum, Madge Murphy.

Ireland Fittest Family - the Kinsella's from Marshallstown, Co. Wexford. Mum Lynda and dad Patrick with Michael, Caoimhe and David and grandchild Oisin, 18 months old. Picture: Patrick Browne

Ireland Fittest Family - the Kinsella's from Marshallstown, Co. Wexford. Mum Lynda and dad Patrick with Michael, Caoimhe and David and grandchild Oisin, 18 months old. Picture: Patrick Browne

"Four generations of us in the house for Christmas," beams Patrick.

The family managed to keep fit with a home gym and by attending one in Enniscorthy and also walking their two dogs, a cavachon and rottweiler.

Asked what his advice for anyone hoping to equal their success on the show, Patrick replies: "Train hard; anyone can do it. There are a lot of fit families out there. It's whoever makes the fewest mistakes."


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