Young Irish footballer Kevin O’Connor wins €1m on Irish Lotto after uncle gave him ticket for Christmas
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Young Irish footballer Kevin O’Connor wins €1m on Irish Lotto after uncle gave him ticket for Christmas

A REPUBLIC of Ireland U21 footballer has won €1m after his uncle bought him a winning EuroMillions ticket as a Christmas present.

Preston defender Kevin O’Connor claimed the prize after travelling back home to Ireland following his side’s 2-3 loss to Middlesbrough on New Year’s Day.

The 22-year-old was gifted the ticket by his uncle and godfather Paedar Murphy, who made the purchase at Flanagan’s Centra Supermarket in Castlebridge, Co. Wexford.

Peadar posted the ticket to his nephew with the festive message: “I wish you the best of luck” – but little did he know that his wish would come true.

O’Connor didn’t watch the draw and only realised he’d won when his mum heard the winning numbers had been bought locally.

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It was an incredible Christmas present for the former Cork City player, who only moved to the English Championship side in June.

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 €1m 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."

"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”.

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He added: "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."