Preston North End’s Kevin O’Connor admits he’s struggling to come to terms with his lottery win.
The 22-year-old, a summer signing from Cork City, has won €1 million on the Irish National Lottery after being bought the ticket for the Millionaire Raffle as a Christmas present by his godfather and uncle Peadar Murphy.
The New Year’s Eve draw revealed he was the lucky winner with O’Connor knowing he’d hit the jackpot by the time he was an unused substitute in PNE’s New Year’s Day defeat to Middlesbrough at Deedpale.
“Unknown to me, our local store in Castlebridge was announced as the winning shop for the Millionaire Raffle and my mam phoned me in a panic and told me to start looking for the ticket,” he said.
“After some searching, I sent them a picture of the ticket but I never really believed that it was the winner of the €1 million prize.
“We had a game with Middlesbrough on Monday so I completely put it to the back of my head until after the final whistle.”
The winning ticket had been bought by his uncle at the Flanagan’s Centra Supermarket on December 14 and posted over to England with the message, “I wish you the best of luck”.
With North End’s players having been given a couple of days off O’Connor headed back home to County Wexford to validate his ticket before collecting his cheque at national lottery headquarters in Dublin on Tuesday alongside parents Brian and Breda, older brother Brian, girlfriend Chloe O’Leary and godparents Peadar and Mag Murphy.
“It’s been an incredible two days and I don’t think the win has sunk in yet,” said O’Connor.
“I have no immediate plans but will take a few days before we make any decisions.
“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.”