A Championship footballer has hit the big time after winning a millionaire lottery raffle back home in Ireland.
Kevin O’Connor, 22, who signed for Preston North End last year, returned for a few days with family and friends over the New Year after he learned of his big win.
After collecting his million euro jackpot in the National Lottery offices in Dublin he revealed that his 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,” he said.
“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.”
O’Connor, originally from Wexford, has played at under-21 level for the Republic of Ireland. He signed for Preston after helping Cork City to win the league-and-cup double.
O’Connor’s uncle and godfather Peadar Murphy, who lives in Castlebridge, Co Wexford bought the winning raffle ticket in Flanagan’s Supermarket, near where he lives, on December 14 and gave it to his nephew as a present.
“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,” O’Connor 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.”
After collecting the win O’Connor is to return to Deepdale to join preparations for Preston’s FA Cup tie against Wycombe Wanderers this weekend.