Hunt is on for the €18.9m winner

THE ticket may have been bought at a supermarket but the holders of the country’s most valuable slip of paper can swap necessities for niceties as they look forward to a life of Lotto luxury.

Ireland’s newest multimillionaires pocketed a breathtaking €18,963,441 jackpot in Saturday night’s record National Lottery draw, leaving the nation with one question: who won it?

The winning ticket was bought in Hickson’s Centra supermarket on the Staplestown Road in Carlow town, but the winner or winners were proving shy about disclosing their windfall.

Rumours around the town pinned the good fortune on everyone from a local grandad and a young couple to a staff syndicate, but apart from the fact that the ticket was a €32 multi-draw Quickpick bought to cover last Wednesday’s and Saturday’s draw — suggesting an organised player — there were no other clues as to the winner’s identity.

PJ Hickson, who owns Hickson’s with his brother, Thomas, also pointed out that the location of the shop, outside Carlow town centre on the N80 route to Wexford and the port of Rosslare, meant the ticket could have been bought by an out-of-towner or commercial traveller.

“We’ve heard loads of different rumours but we genuinely don’t know who it is,” he said. “Anybody who even gets in their car to head off for the day will be under suspicion.”

The win is the first for Hickson’s, which pockets an agent’s bonus of €15,000 for making the sale, but under previous ownership the shop twice sold jackpot-winning tickets.

Paula McEvoy of the National Lottery said the reputation would stick.

“The agents do get a great sales boost after a jackpot sale because they become known as lucky shops,” she said.

Whoever won the weekend’s mega-jackpot, the biggest in the 20-year history of the game, has 90 days to claim the prize, but the National Lottery is urging them to reveal themselves sooner, not least because of the huge interest earnings they will lose if they don’t bank their cheque straight away.


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