A Limerick taxi driver who won half a million euro in Friday night’s EuroMillions Plus draw said he feels “on top of the world”.
Eddie Costelloe, from Moyross, welled up as he credited his beloved late mother, Helen, who passed away in 2013, for encouraging him to follow his dream of one day winning the lottery.
In an exclusive interview, Eddie, 43, said: “On my mother’s deathbed, I said to her, ‘Mam, I’m going to win the lotto one of these days’, and she said, ‘Son, you will’, and I’ve been chasing this for a long time.”
The ecstatic father of two added: “Seven years it took me, and I got it. I’m after getting half a million.” He described the win as “life-changing” for himself and his wife, Antoinette, along with their two children Cian (5) and Megan (9).
“It’s unbelievable; it’s unreal, it hasn't sunk in yet. This is what I wanted all my life.”
Eddie’s mother’s anniversary, (4-7-13), has also twice previously brought him good luck, netting him €15,000 from two previous lotto draws.
On Friday, he decided to do a EuroMillions Quick Pick at his local Circle K filling station, in Thomondgate, after a long day at work transporting parcels for delivery firm Nightline, a position he took up after his work as a taxi driver dried up during the coronavirus lockdown.
“I’m top of the world, top of the world. We are sorted for life. I’m going to rent out my taxi because I don’t want to be listening to drunk people anymore — I’m finished, I’m done,” he announced.
Despite the massive cash boost, Eddie and Antoinette, who is a care worker with CareBright, will continue working to give their two children the best start in life, while also enjoying a few non-essential treats.
“It’s not going to (stop) me from working, because it’s not in me to sit around, I’ll always work. I’m a taxi driver and as you know the industry has been hit hard, but I reverted back to delivering parcels for Nightline, and that’s my job now, so going forward, I'm going to keep (delivering) my parcels,” Eddie said.
Antoinette maintained the big win was “not retirement money”, saying: “We’ll still be working, I have (up to) six clients that I look after every day."
However, the happy couple, who have been together for 12 years, and married for the past three years, will be travelling in style to work from now on as Eddie plans on purchasing “a new van” and Antoinette “is going to pick her new car, whatever she wants”.
“We’ll buy our house, and a nice holiday home in Lanzarote,” he added.
It is a double celebration for Eddie and Antoinette with Eddie considering becoming a Season Ticket holder at his beloved Liverpool FC’s Anfield after the club clinched its first English league title in 30 years, and Antoinette is due to celebrate her 41st birthday “next week”.
Overjoyed, Eddie said he usually spends €10.50 on the lotto, but, this time around he decided on a €14 ticket, which returned him €500,000.
“It was about 10.15pm when I checked the ticket and scanned it on my phone, and a message came up - ‘Congratulations, you have won big, keep your ticket safe’,” Eddie said.
“After that, I went down to my brother-in-law Noel O’Connor, and I asked him to check the ticket as I thought I was after winning something like €5,000, but it ended up being €500,000.”
Antoinette, who was out at the time with Cian and Megan, said: “He phoned me at 9pm saying he was going to bed because he had work early in the morning. And then, he rang back, and he couldn’t breathe, he told me we were after winning money, he couldn't talk.”
“I thought his mother’s three numbers had come up again. It was crazy, it was really mad, we’re gobsmacked,” Antoinette added.
“We’ll have to keep him grounded,” she joked.
Eddie continued, “she’s the brains behind the machine now”.
Family and friends gathered at the Greenhills Hotel to celebrate, and Eddie quipped the €500,000 winning ticket was “in hiding”.
Staff at Circle K were also celebrating after Eddie dropped in a generous cash sum as a token of his appreciation for their role in his big win.
“All the staff, Elaine and Kelly, are lovely. Antoinette used to work there. I always use the garage, it’s top class.”