St. Patrick's Gaelic Football Club will honor Jude Fitzgerald, one of its co-founders, during its annual dinner dance on Saturday, Dec. 15, at the Gaelic American Club, 74 Beach Road.

Fitzgerald, the football club's former and first president, and her husband Sean emigrated to Fairfield from County Tipperary in 1988 and quickly became leaders in local Irish cultural and athletic activities, according to a release. In addition to founding St. Patrick's Gaelic football club in 2003 and serving as its president for five years, Fitzgerald is a past president of the Gaelic American Club, where she served for many years on its board and on numerous social and athletic committees.

She was recently elected again to serve as the Gaelic American Club president for 2013, the release states.

"Of course there were many challenges and obstacles in the beginning," Fitzgerald said, reflecting on the football club's founding. "But we all shared a common passion for Gaelic football and hurling and a strong desire to give American children the opportunity to learn, and play competitively, the same sports that we loved when growing up in Ireland."

Fitzgerald and the other founding members worked together in planning the football club, recruiting players, obtaining an official charter from the Gaelic Athletic Association and fundraising, the release states. They also bought equipment and team uniforms and secured legal status as a nonprofit organization.

This past year, St. Patrick's captured the U8 National Championship in Chicago by defeating Gaelic football teams from New York, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco and Buffalo, and the adult team competed for the Junior Division title in New York.

The club, with one of the largest youth summer Gaelic football camps in North America, introduced hurling to the training schedule in 2012 and has plans to field youth hurling teams in 2013, the release states.

For information on the dinner dance, including tickets and the commemorative journal, visit