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Irish footballer wins million euro jackpot

Preston North End footballer Kevin O'Connor who won big in a lottery raffle. Credit: PA

Irish footballer Kevin O’Connor, who plays for Championship side Preston North End, has scooped a million euro jackpot in a lottery raffle.

The winning ticket was bought by the 22-year-old’s uncle and godfather in Castlebridge, Co Wexford and given to him as a present.

O’Connor’s mum had to urge him to check the ticket after hearing that the winning numbers had been 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 €1m 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.

– Kevin O’Connor

O’Connor, originally from Wexford, has played at under-21 level for the Republic of Ireland. He signed for Preston last year, after helping Cork City to win the league-and-cup double.

“It's been an incredible two days and I don’t think the win has sunk in yet,” he said, as he picked up his prize from the National Lottery offices in Dublin.

“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.”

After collecting his winnings, O’Connor is to return to Deepdale to join preparations for Preston’s FA Cup tie against Wycombe Wanderers this weekend.

Kevin O'Connor celebrating his win before getting back to action for his club. Credit: PA