The €11m Lotto ticket seller Noel McGowan, who is celebrating his third jackpot sales win, has a special celebration of his own this year.
His granduncle married into the main store in the Leitrim village of Kinlough exactly 100 years ago in 1916.
Noel, who collects a special €15,000 cash prize for the weekend’s winning sale, said it came in time for his own party, which he has yet to organise, celebrating his family’s centenary ownership of the Spar shop, which employs 20.
While he knows what he and his staff will be celebrating, they have no idea who bought the €11,179,621 ticket.
Noel, who has been running the store for 35 years, said: “All the Lotto told me is that my shop sold the jackpot ticket. They didn’t tell me anything else — what day or time it was sold or if it was a Quickpick.”
He said the odds of a local buying it are high, although in August there were a lot of visitors to the area as well and the seaside resort of Bundoran is less than four kilometres distant.
Noel said: “It’s a quite busy time with visiting fishermen on the Drowse River, sightseers enjoying the scenery of Lough Melvin, and surrounding mountains.
“A lot of tourists drop on to the shop when they are on their way to Kiltyclogher where they go the visitor centre where the memory of 1916 hero Sean McDermott is marked.
“There’s always traffic going by this shop between Donegal and Carrick-on-Shannon.
“There was even a woman from Cork who was on holidays and who bought a ticket and she was in to check it this morning. Unfortunately she wasn’t a winner.”
The €11m ticket is the fourth big winner sold in the shop. “We sold a Lotto Plus 2 winning ticket last October worth €250,000. We sold two jackpot-winning tickets on the one day back more than 10 years ago. There were six winners of the jackpot that day. I think it was in 2004 or 2005. Two of those tickets were bought here on the one day. They got €225,000 each.
“This is the biggie,” Noel added. “I didn’t hear of any special celebrations by anybody last night. There’s lots of speculation.”
Next door to his shop is James Earley’s Village Inn. Barman Gerald Kilkenny said: “There are a lot of excited people about but nobody was giving away anything.”
The winning numbers were 10, 11, 12, 15, 18, 19, and the bonus number was 35.
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