Quartet of sporting stars hit Ratheniska
Rugby player Alan Quinlan, boxer Darren O'Neill and hurler Pádraic Maher will be joined by Dublin hurling manager Anthony Daly at the National Dairy Council (NDC) Dome at Ratheniska this week.
The quartet, who have all reached the pinnacle of their respective sports, will be helping the NDC highlight the health benefits of consuming milk and dairy products.
The sporting heroes will be available to talk to fans and children about their achievements, which include Rugby World Cup performances, European boxing medals and All-Ireland hurling championships.
The NDC stand has a sporting theme this year, with the Sam Maguire trophy wrestled from the grip of the Dublin football team for the duration of the Ploughing to go on display at the dome.
NDC nutritionists will be available to advise parents on the role of milk and dairy as part of every family's diet, while the children can test their skills in an interactive penalty shoot-out zone.
The Department of Health's food pyramid recommends three servings from the milk, yoghurt and cheese food group as part of a healthy, balanced diet. For those aged nine-18 years, five servings are recommended due to the importance of this mineral during this life stage.
Located in Row S at stand number 307, the Dome has a packed schedule of events, including free cookery demonstrations with chef Phelim Byrne.
Mr Byrne will be presenting 'Cooking with kids', 'Cooking on a budget', 'Impress your guests' and 'Breezy Brunch' at 11am, 12.30pm, 2pm and 3.30pm respectively on each day of the Championships.
However, visitors to Ratheniska have a plethora of cookery demonstrations to choose from over the three days, with chefs Edward Hayden and Cathal Moran ensconced in the Irish Countrywomen's Association stand and Irish Olympian and winner of RTé's Celebrity Masterchef, David Gillick cooking up a storm in the Electric Ireland stand each day at 11.30am, 2.30pm and 4.30pm.
Meanwhile, Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney will be dropping by at 10am tomorrow to help launch World School Milk Day with the children of third class in Rath National School, Ballybrittas, Portlaoise.
World School Milk Day is designated by the United Nations Food & Agriculture Organisation.
The sporting theme is certainly not limited to just the NDC dome, with plenty of opportunities for sports fans to meet their heroes at the Ploughing. Rugby fans will have the opportunity to rub shoulders with Paul O'Connell at the Pinergy stand and John 'The Bull' Hayes at the Progressive Genetics stand, while for hurling fans, Corbett Sport and Canning Hurleys are must-visit stands where Lar and Joe will be on hand to meet their fans.
For other GAA fans, the Cumann Lúthchleas Gael tent, located at Block 4, Row S, Stand 308 is a must.