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Professional Footballer Claims €1 Million Christmas Millionaire Raffle Prize

Last Updated: Wednesday 3rd January 2018, 11:42 am

The winner of 2017’s Christmas Millionaire Raffle has been revealed to be Kevin O’Connor, a 22-year-old footballer for Preston North End in England’s Championship who has represented the Republic of Ireland four times at Under-21 level. The winning ticket was a Christmas gift from his godfather Peader Murphy and Kevin admitted he didn’t realise he was a winner until his parents phoned, urging him to check his entry.

Claiming the Christmas Millionaire Raffle Prize

The left footer, who has made nine appearances for his club side since leaving Cork City to ply his trade across the Irish Sea, found out about his good fortune hours before he warmed the bench as an unused substitute in Preston’s 3-2 home defeat to Middlesbrough on New Year’s Day.

The star jetted back home to validate his ticket at Flanagan’s Centra in Castlebridge, Co Wexford, where Peader had purchased the entry. Shop boss Louis Flanagan joked, “Once the ticket was validated I asked Kevin for a hold of it so I could become a millionaire for a few short seconds.” He went on to congratulate the winner and his parents, stating, “One could not meet a nicer family.”

From there, Kevin, his parents and godparents, girlfriend Chloe and brother Brian made the two hour trip up the M11 to Irish National Lottery headquarters in Dublin, where the lucky ticket holder was presented with his cheque.

Looking After a Winning Lotto Ticket

Kevin recalled receiving a phone call from his parents on Monday morning, suggesting he should dig out the Christmas card in which the ticket had been sent because the winner had been bought locally, but admitted that he had no idea where it was. Thankfully, partner Chloe had tidied the house and was eventually able to recall where she had stashed it.

If you buy physical lottery tickets, you are advised to store them in a safe and memorable place, as the slip is your only proof of purchase. A more secure alternative is to choose your numbers online, where they are held digitally and can’t be lost or damaged. You even receive an email informing you about the prizes you win so you never miss out if you forget to check the results.  

The Christmas Millionaire’s Future

After picking up his prize for matching the jackpot code 054239, the sportsman will return to Lancashire to rejoin preparations for the Lilywhites’ FA Cup third round clash at Wycombe this weekend. Kevin told reporters he anticipates some good-natured ribbing from his teammates on his return and has vowed to work hard to earn a call up to the senior national side.

If you played the Christmas Millionaire Raffle, there are still a host of big cash prizes yet to be claimed. Take a look at the Christmas Millionaire Raffle 2017 results to see if you could be booking a trip to the capital in the near future.

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