Wednesday 12 December 2018

Irish football star Kevin O'Connor scoops €1m lottery win

Pictured with his girlfriend, Chloe O’Leary, is Kevin O’Connor, Irish professional footballer for Preston North-End in the English Championship Pic: Mac Innes photography.
Pictured with his girlfriend, Chloe O’Leary, is Kevin O’Connor, Irish professional footballer for Preston North-End in the English Championship Pic: Mac Innes photography.

Brendan Furlong

Irish football star Kevin O’Connor has scooped €1 million in the national lottery after his uncle gave him the lucky ticket as a gift.

O'Connor scooped the massive prize in the National Lottery Christmas Millionaire Raffle on New Year’s Eve.

Having joined Preston North End just a few months back, O’Connor returned home on Monday night knowing exactly what was going on having been informed on his lucky draw.

It was a lucky Christmas Present for the former Cork City player, who had played a leading role in the Rebel sides league-cup double before joining the English championship club,

Kevin was the recipient of the lucky ticket from his godfather and uncle, Peadar Murphy, who lives in Castlebridge, Co. Wexford, near Flanagan’s Centra Supermarket where he bought the winning ticket on December 14.

The rising star said today: "It’s been an incredible two days and I don’t think the win has sunk in yet. I have no immediate plans but will take a few days before we make any decisions.

Kevin O'Connor Photo: SPORTSFILE
Kevin O'Connor Photo: SPORTSFILE

"The important part of today was having my family with me so they will be at the forefront of any plans. My main focus at the moment is to help Preston climb the Championship and hopefully challenge for a Premier League spot over the next couple of months."

His uncle Peadar posted the ticket to Kevin with the Christmas message saying ‘I wish you the best of luck’.

As soon as the winning ticket became known, Peadar was one of the first in contact with his godchild to congratulate him on his luck and wish him well.

The new millionaire visited Flanagan’s Supermarket today where he was greeted by the Supermarket Proprietor, Louis Flanagan, and members of the staff, along with early morning customers, bringing new year’s excitement to the small rural village just outside Wexford town on the main road to Gorey.

Louis said: "Once the ticket was validated I asked Kevin for a hold of it (ticket) so I could become a millionaire for a few short seconds".

He said: "I was delighted for Kevin and his parents, Brian and Breda. One could not meet a nicer person or family. When he (Kevin) came into the supermarket along with his girlfriend it was the very same Kevin of old. He has not changed one bit. He is as nice a person as one could meet.

"Kevin got to where he is today the hard way. He played with Waterford before joining Cork City. He worked  so hard to get that opportunity with Preston North End having also played with Ireland at under-age level. If I was to pick a person to win I could not have done any better.  It’s  wonderful and with such a nice family I have still hope in this world."

Louis revealed he could not believe it when contacted by the National Lottery.

"I was out collecting vegetables when I took the call from the National Lottery. I asked if  I had won the lotto the response was swift no not yourself but you sold the winning millionaire draw ticket.

"When I spoke to Kevin he was all over the place. He did not know what to do about the ticket or where to go but the National Lottery were really nice about it and spoke with him. It’s great for Kevin, his family and his godfathers, while it’s also put Castlebridge on the map..."

Louis described it as incredible news and a dream start to the year.

Kevin left home by car with his girlfriend and members of his family to collect the winning cheque yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon.

Having had such a busy schedule with Preston North End over the Christmas and New Years period, he will be returning to the Deepdale club to join the preparations for his championship game this weekend.

Kevin prior to opting for his soccer career was also an excellent gaelic football player having played under-age for Wexford, his local club Shelmaliers and St. Peter’s College, Wexford, where he received his second level education.

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