Wendy Mackey and Edward Donadio will be the featured honorees at the New Haven Gaelic Football & Hurling Club (NHGF&HC) 31st Annual Banquet as their Irish Woman and Irish Man of the Year. The event will be held on Saturday, November 22 from 7 pm to 12 am at Cascade, 480 Sherman Avenue, Hamden. Tickets are available for $65 and include an open bar, a 4 course dinner and an evening of dancing to music provided by the Sharon and Pat Burke Band.

The NHGF&HC had its beginnings in 1949 with a group of Irish gentlemen who immigrated to this area after WWII. The group gathered regularly to play Gaelic football and socialize. These pick-up games eventually led to the formation of a regular team and the search began for a place to call home. From borrowed and leased space, including the Hibernian Hall and St. Rose’s, the group eventually grew large enough to purchase its present East Haven location in 1967. In the early 80s, the Irish American Community Center was established to promote Irish culture through the education of its members in Irish history, literature, language, dance, music and other traditions. The annual Banquet was established to honor their members as Irish Woman and Man of the Year, all of whom have spent countless hours promoting the objectives of their Club and keeping the Irish culture alive here in Connecticut.

According to banquet organizers, Mackey and Donadio are two worthy recipients of this honor and have given many hours to the NHGF&H Club over the years.

In 2005, Mackey agreed to be the registrar for the re-established youth football program. She was instrumental in getting the club to their first Continental Youth Championships in Boston and remained as registrar for another five years. She is a member of the Youth Gaelic Sports Board coordinating fund raising and girls’ football. She has served as medical director for all of the summer camps at the IACC and has volunteered for Irish Festivals since 2005. She proudly accompanied two of her children to Ireland when they were selected for the New York County team to participate in the Feile Peil Na Nog, the Irish national U14 championships. Mackey is proud of her Canadian heritage and her adopted Irish culture. She is a Nurse Practitioner at Connecticut Pediatric Otolaryngology. Mackey lives in Guilford with her husband, John, and their three children.

Donadio’s volunteer efforts with the Gaelic Club go back to the mid 60s when he began taking photos for the Club for publicity purposes. Most recently he handles many assignments under the name of “IrishNewsman” submitting articles and photos to media outlets for Irish community events. He proudly acknowledges sharing both an Italian and Irish heritage and is well known in the Irish community having served on the Greater New Haven St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee for over 12 years. Donadio has been involved with several of the Connecticut Irish Festivals sponsored by the Irish American Community Center and can be counted on to lend a hand whenever or wherever asked. He lives in Northford with his wife, Eileen, and retired over ten years ago from the New Haven Register after being employed for 48 years. They have two children and five grandchildren.

For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Maureen Rynne (203) 318-8723; Kathleen O’Donovan (203) 281-3563; or Lisa Hemingway (203) 927-6031. Ads and well wishes can be placed in the Program book starting at $25 by contacting Brendan McCaffery at (203) 214-8677 or [email protected]