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Hogans head to Croker after Jay's heroic climb

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The Hogan family from Ferns

The Hogan family from Ferns

The Hogan family from Ferns

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.

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.

'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 its screened to a national audience in a couple of weeks' time.

'The kids at football are asking him about the result non-stop, even the parents, but he's saying nothing,' 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. 'He's a great man manager, he's able to read people brilliantly, 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 Tipperary game so you can imagine what he was like that day. He seemed up in the air about everything, he said if it had been any other group of lads he would have gone.'

Wexford People