John West, sponsors of the GAA’s under-15 annual Féile Peile na nÓg (football) and Féile na nGael (camogie and hurling) competitions today (March 21) announced details of its innovative nutrition programme for young athletes.
The company also revealed the extension of its Féile sponsorship until 2025 and a partnership with SuperValu to promote John West Féile in stores across the country.
The competition is one of the biggest underage sporting events in Europe.
To coincide with the launch of John West Féile 2023 at Croke Park, the company said its ‘Eat Strong Go Strong’ strength and resilience through natural nutrition message is part of a campaign to build awareness among young athletes of how and when to refuel, particularly before and after matches and training.
Developed in partnership with expert dieticians who are key opinion leaders in the nutrition field, John West said its high-quality natural protein products help optimise the physical growth and development of young players.
Throughout its sponsorship of Féile, John West has focused on the importance of natural nutrition in fuelling young athletes, whilst encouraging children to participate in Gaelic games.
This year’s John West Féile na nGael and Féile Peile na nÓg national finals will both take place at the Connacht GAA Centre of Excellence at Bekan, Co Mayo.
The John West Féile na nGael finals will be played on Saturday, June 24, with the Féile Peile na nÓg finals taking place on Saturday, July 1.
Regional finals in all four codes for counties outside of division one will also take place on the last Saturday in June (Féile na nGael) and the first Saturday of July (Féile Peile na nÓg) at venues nationwide.
John West Féile Peile na nÓg county competitions will be played over the weekend of April 15-16 with Féile na nGael county competitions taking place over May 6-7.
The importance of how and when young athletes refuel was stressed as John West Féile 2023 was launched at Croke Park by Féile Ambassadors and inter-county stars – Hurler of the Year Diarmaid Byrnes (Limerick), Galway’s Paul Conory (Gaelic football), Meath All-Ireland winning captain Shauna Ennis (ladies’ football) and Kilkenny’s Grace Walsh (camogie).
Leading sports dietician, Noreen Roche, who has been involved with numerous All-Ireland winning teams, said nutrition intake before and after matches and training is critical to the physical growth and development of young athletes.
“Vitamin D, natural protein and leucine are key factors in maintaining good health amongst young athletes,” said Ms Roche.
“Intake of Vitamin D facilitates the normal functioning of muscles, helps build and maintain healthy bones, and supports the immune system.
“Proteins are the building blocks within the body responsible for maintenance and repair of tissue, while leucine is used by skeletal muscles to provide energy during exercise.
“Proper fuelling before and after matches and training is key to optimising the physical growth and development of young athletes.”
This is the eighth year of John West’s sponsorship of Féile, which brings together thousands of young hurlers, camogie players and Gaelic footballers in a celebration of the GAA’s community ethos through underage competition.
“John West Féile gives us the opportunity to highlight the importance of sport in children’s lives and of natural nutrition in their diets so they can refuel in a manner similar to their inter-county heroes,” said John West Ireland Head of Marketing, Anne-Claire Monde.
“We have created a range of products to support active families in a contemporary way whilst consistently delivering the health benefits of natural protein and natural vitamin D.
“John West No Drain On The Go products are an easy and tasty way to consume these nutrients.”
Uachtarán CLG, Larry McCarthy, said John West Féile is an integral part of the GAA calendar.
“It nurtures an enthusiasm for our games, where friendships and memories are made,” he said.
“Generations have experienced the joy of being a part of Féile na nGael and Féile Peil na nÓg, and I look forward to seeing this tradition continue this year.
“Our thanks to John West for their support in the promotion of this competition and to the national organising committee for their work on John West Féile 2023.”
Ladies’ Gaelic Football Association President, Mícheál Naughton, highlighted John West Féile’s emphasis on fun, friendship and participation.
“Players will make new friends and re-connect with old friends. John West Féile will once again provide young players with lifelong memories.”
Hilda Breslin, Uachtarán, The Camogie Association, said John West Féile na nGael is, for many players, their first time to compete in a national competition.
“I hope their experience will be positive, both on and off the field, and pay tribute to the volunteers who make such a valuable contribution to make John West Féile so special.”