Former Ireland under-21 player Kevin O'Connor has been named as the National Lottery's Christmas Millionaire Raffle winner.
He became the first millionaire of the year after winning on a ticket gifted to him by his godfather for Christmas.
The Preston North End player from Wexford is starting 2018 with a big boost, after playing a significant part in Cork City FC league and cup wins last year.
He travelled to National Lottery HQ in Dublin today with his girlfriend and family members to collect his top prize from the Christmas Millionaire Raffle.
A delighted Kevin – who announced he will be sharing his good fortune with his family – was posted the National Lottery Christmas Millionaire Raffle ticket in December by his godfather with the message: “I wish you the best of luck”.
Peadar purchased the ticket in Flanagan’s Centra Supermarke in Castlebridge, Co Wexford, on December 14.
The raffle took place on New Year's Eve.
Becoming an instant millionaire marked an amazing end to the year for the young football player who joined Preston North End from Cork City only in September.
A delighted Kevin said today: “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! 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 (Preston North End) had a game with Middlesbrough on Monday night so I completely put it to the back of my head until after the final whistle.”
He added: “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. 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.”
Kevin visited Flanagan’s Supermarket on Tuesday morning where he was greeted by supermarket owner Louis Flanagan, and members of staff.
Kevin’s parents Brian and Breda, older brother Brian, girlfriend Chloe O'Leary from Cork and godparents Peadar and Mag Murphy joined him in the National Lottery Winner’s Room for celebrations.
Kevin played for Waterford City before moving to Cork and then Preston North end.
The new millionaire's team, Preston, take on Wycome in the FA Cup 3rd Round this Saturday.