I’d like to think I showed them the Meath spirit and that never say die attitude"

Ashbourne comedian Rory O’Connor says he endured the gruelling challenges in RTE series Ultimate Hell Week to show what the Meath spirit is all about.

The Rory’s Stories star left the reality TV series after “his body gave up” on Wednesday night's dramatic semi-final but not before he pushed himself to the limit saying he felt like “the county was behind him.”

The brave contestant says although he tried to train for the show, nothing could have prepared him for the torturous tasks that left him and the cast at breaking point. He added:

“The cameras don’t do any justice to how gruelling it is, it’s one of these things that is just genuinely impossible to explain until you witness it. It is relentless.

“A day felt like a week in your head.”

“I was the only person from Meath on the show and I’d like to think I showed them the Meath spirit and that never say die attitude that Meath is associated with.

“When I wanted to quit I just kept going for as long as I could because that is what Meath people do and that’s what Meath football is all about so it definitely was on my mind to do the likes of Sean Boylan and Andy McEntee proud.”

The Ashbourne dad who was recovering from covid 19 when he started the series spent time preparing for the series putting himself through the paces on the Hill of Tara but it made little impact on what he had to face on Ultimate Hell Week as he explains:

Rory with his wife Emma and children Zach and Ella

“I would have done a lot of preparation on the Hill of Tara because being obviously being a Meath man and there is something about the Hill of Tara as everyone knows up there.

“Everyone knows that dirty hill there and I would have done ridiculous runs up that carrying heavy weights on my back and I had a PT with me and I reached places in my head that I’ve never went anywhere near training for football.

“I remember saying to myself when I get to this place in Hell week I’ll be familiar with this environment if that makes sense but I swear to god within five minutes I was already in that Hill of Tara head space, that’s how mad it was.”

Rory says the support he has received locally has been “phenomenal.”

“My phone exploded on Wednesday night after the show with people saying they were proud of me and I suppose it was only after looking back at it that I felt proud of myself because I felt out of my depth in there with all of these athletes and Olympians and I’m just a normal dad with three kids that likes a couple of pints and likes his few biscuits.”

The social media funny man said many lessons were learned from this time on the show, he added:

“I learned that I am a very strong person and I suppose I questioned that going into Hell Week and I think that is part of my mental health just constantly doubting myself.

“That crawl around the room at the end was the hardest thing that I had ever done in my life, I had done loads before that but where my body and mind was at, that felt like the worst thing I had ever done, I knew then that my body was giving up.”

Rory is sleeping out to help ‘Shine a Light’ on homelessness in aid of Focus Ireland this Friday, October 15, a cause that is close to his heart:

“Some people probably think homelessness affects people who are caught up with alcohol or drugs or crime but because of the shortage of houses and the price of rent the normal working family can end up in emergency accommodation nowadays.

“We had to move in with my parents for nine months to save for a house and we didn’t have my parents who knows what might have happened.”