Preston Footballer Kevin O’Connor Scoops €1m in Irish Lottery

The Republic of Ireland under-21 international won the jackpot from a ticket given to him as a Christmas present by his uncle.

Kevin O'Connor celebrating with his family

Kevin O’Connor celebrating his Irish Lottery win with his family ©PA

The €1m prize is equal to £885,422 but O’Connor becomes Ireland’s first lottery millionaire of 2018 after the Millionaire Raffle ticket was drawn on New Year’s Eve.

O’Connor, who signed for Preston last year, was an unused substitute in a Championship match against Middlesbrough on New Years Day, and consequently had to put his celebrations on hold until after the final whistle. Preston lost the match 2 – 3, which may have put a dampener on proceedings.

The winning ticket was bought on 14th December 2017 by O’Connor’s uncle and godfather Peadar Murphy in Castlebridge, County Wexford, in Flanagan’s Supermarket near his home. The full-back’s mother, Breda, urged him to check his ticket after hearing the winning numbers were sold locally.

After some searching, I sent them a picture of the ticket but I never really believed that it was the winner of the one million euro prize. We had a game with Middlesbrough on Monday night so I completely put it to the back of my head until after the final whistle. Kevin O’Connor, Preston North End

The player, who signed from Cork City after helping them to win the league and cup double in Ireland last season, says the win has not yet sunk in yet, and he plans to take his time before deciding what to do with the windfall. However, the 22-year-old is keen to involve his family in any decision. He said: “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.”

O’Connor will be hoping the win was a good omen for his team as they fight for promotion to the Premier League. Next up for the Lilywhites is a trip to Wycombe Wanderers on Saturday in the Third Round of the FA Cup.

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