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Wednesday 23 July 2014

Hunt for €12m Lotto winner narrows . . . to 20 or 30 locals

Published 06/06/2014|02:30

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Staff Majella Hegarty, Jackie Gaye, Agnes Hastings, and Brian McGovern, owner of McGovern's American House newsagents in Bundoran, Co. Donegal, where a €12.1 million Lottery ticket was sold. Photo: James Connolly / PicSell8
Staff Majella Hegarty, Jackie Gaye, Agnes Hastings, and Brian McGovern, owner of McGovern's American House newsagents in Bundoran, Co. Donegal, where a €12.1 million Lottery ticket was sold. Photo: James Connolly / PicSell8

The hunt for the winning €12m Lotto ticket has been narrowed down to a select bunch.

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There are 20 to 30 residents of Bundoran, Co Donegal, in the frame for winning the largest lotto jackpot of the year, €12.1m.

Residents of the seaside resort believe that the lucky punter is more likely to be a local than a tourist.

Brian McGovern, owner of the American House, the newsagent and souvenir shop that sold the winning ticket, said that out of his large Lotto ticket sales a small percentage bought €12 tickets.

It was a quickpick line on a €12 ticket bought on Wednesday that scooped the biggest jackpot ever won in the north-west.

Mr McGovern (71) said the winner could be a holidaymaker, but that the ticket was bought on the same day as the draw leaned the odds towards a local.

There were thousands of visitors in Bundoran over the holiday weekend but the numbers were reduced by Wednesday.

“Most of the €12 tickets are for local syndicates. The richer single people in the town also buy €12 tickets, but most of the other customers settle for €4 tickets,” the shopkeeper said.

“I don’t even do the Lotto myself. I wouldn’t know what to do with €12m. A million or a half-million would do me fine.”

Speculation in the town pointed towards Frankie Gorman who is the only previous jackpot winner in Bundoran, having scooped €89,000 on July 4, 1990. But Mr Gorman ruled himself out, telling the Irish Independent that he had played the same numbers that won 24 years ago.

“For some reason people seem to think the money is following money,” he laughed.

“Unbelievably, if I had been in Madden’s Bridge Bar pub in Bundoran right across from the American House I would have been in a little €12 syndicate of customers and bar staff.

“Each of us puts €2 into the syndicate and we buy the ticket in the American House.

“But I was drinking elsewhere that day and wasn’t in the syndicate.”

Declan Madden, who runs the Bridge Bar said: “First thing I did this morning was check with the staff and the customers but they say they didn’t win.

Champagne

“I wouldn’t be surprised if the ticket was sold to someone using this bar,” he added.

“A number of customers get together in little syndicates and one usually pops across the street to the shop.

“I suspect if it was one of them we won’t hear but I’ll be keeping a close eye on the next person to come in and buy a celebration bottle of champagne.”

When the American Bar opened for business at 9am yesterday it was bedecked with celebration balloons and banners.

Shop assistant Majella Hegarty (35) might have sold the winning ticket.

“We’ve been racking our brains to figure out the winner. We probably sell between 20 and 30 €12 tickets for each draw. The craic is mighty here today, with everybody coming in to congratulate us.”

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