AN OFFALY woman who won $21m (€15.4m) in the New York State Lottery was only able to buy the ticket because her flight home was cancelled.
Over-the-moon Trisha Eisel was stunned when she found out about her massive win this week.
But the 40-year-old waitress would not have bought the ticket except that an earlier flight home to visit her mother was cancelled because of poor weather in December.
"I should have been in Ireland. But if I had gotten out, I wouldn't have bought the ticket, I would have been at home. It's karma," she said.
Trisha has opted to take a lump sum -- which works out at $7.9m (€5.8m) after tax -- rather than be paid in instalments.
The single mother of three boys revealed: "I was doing my laundry at the time and decided to check the results from the night before.
"All six numbers matched the numbers on my ticket and I froze. I composed myself, gathered up my laundry and went to a friend's house to make sure I wasn't seeing things."
She said the win is a "godsend", which will enable her to buy a new house and dog for her three boys.
"I will buy a home, not a house, in New York. Something very comfortable with a big, fenced-in yard that the boys can run around in. I know they'll be thrilled when I tell them we'll also buy a dog to run around the yard with them," Trisha said. She has worked in the Saloon bar on Long Beach in Long Island for almost 10 years.
Trisha, who left Tullamore for the US in 1995, now intends to cut back on the bartending to become a full-time mother. She used money from tips to buy her $8 winning ticket.
"She's had to struggle monthly to support her children. She waitresses and babysits to feed her kids," her attorney Dorothy Going said. "She is separated from her husband and doing a lot of it on her own," Ms Going added.
One of the first things she does will be to bring her children to Disneyland but not before celebrating in her hometown this weekend.
Trisha had wanted to surprise her 69-year-old mother Margaret with the news but a paper broke the story before she could. Her brother Brian is a part-time fireman in Tullamore.