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Sunday 18 February 2018

Local's last-gasp dash to claim Lotto winnings

Brian McDonald

THE biggest winner of race week in Galway was a local man who didn't even set foot in Ballybrit. He walked away with a cool €350,000 -- but only managed to claim his massive winnings by the skin of his teeth.

An old Lotto ticket had been lying unchecked at home and he only went looking for it following an article in a local newspaper. He had until today to claim his prize at National Lottery headquarters.

The €4 Quickpick ticket was bought at Maher's corner Shop on Fr Griffin Road on May 1. It scooped the top Lotto Plus 1 draw that night.

The man, who wishes to remain anonymous, travelled hotfoot to the National Lottery offices in Abbey Street, Dublin, yesterday -- just 24 hours before the three-month deadline for claiming the prize was due to run out.

He said: "This is fantastic news. I saw an article in the 'Connacht Sentinel' yesterday and I remembered I had a few tickets to check."

At Ballybrit yesterday, the biggest crowd of punters seen on an Irish racecourse this year were also attempting to reload their wallets. In the process, they created a record for the longest queue ever seen outside an ATM.

At any one time at the Galway racetrack yesterday, more than 150 people snaked their way towards the four machines.

However, before they had a chance to deposit their cash with the bookies, all were well warned by the PA announcer to hold onto their cash tightly as pickpockets were believed to be operating in all of the enclosures.

The huge Galway crowd were celebrating after the big race, when local favourite Graham Lee came home first on English raider Overturn in the featured €250,000 Galway Guinness Hurdle.

Graham, a native of nearby Mervue, said: "I grew up here and got my love of racing from coming to this place when I was no height.

"I ran away from home to jump on a pony when I was just 12. It's very special to win this race at Ballybrit."

Irish Independent

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