herald

Monday 26 September 2016

Lotto fever gripping village after €11m jackpot win

Owners of the Spar in Kinlough, Noel and Martina McGowan
Owners of the Spar in Kinlough, Noel and Martina McGowan

You could probably buy up most of the village with the winnings.

The lucky ticket for the weekend Lotto jackpot of €11m was sold in the Leitrim village of Kinlough, which has a population of just over 1,000.

A bottle of champagne is now sitting on a table in the local Spar shop where the ticket was sold and is waiting to be uncorked as everyone speculates on the winner.

"It's mad. Everyone is checking their tickets and wondering who it is," said the shop's owner Noel McGowan.

"But I haven't seen anyone going mad."

The lucky streak in the region continues after a winner from Sligo scooped €8.2m in June and a family in Mayo won a staggering €13.8m in January.

It was also third time lucky for Noel, who is celebrating his third jackpot sales win after he sold a Lotto Plus 2 winning ticket last October worth €250,000 as well as two jackpot winners on the same day a decade 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."

But nothing compares to the cheque awaiting the winner or winners at the National Lottery headquarters in Dublin when they present the golden ticket with the numbers 10, 11, 12, 15, 18, 19 and the bonus number 35.

"This is the biggie," he said.

Chef Piero Melis, owner of the upscale Mediterranean restaurant and hotel The Courtyard in the village, said he didn't see anyone celebrating like there was no tomorrow.

"It wasn't me. But if it was, I'd be off to Sardinia," he said of a trip to his homeland if he landed the big prize.

But the good fortune has created a real buzz in the town, he said.

"Everyone who came into the [Spar] shop was being quizzed."

The results of the win were even announced during Mass at the local church yesterday.

Taximan Thomas Kelly, of A Cab Hire, said it took a while for the news to filter through the village last night.

But so far he hasn't noticed anything conspicuous around the village.

"Nobody was splashing the cash last night.

"Everyone is watching to see if anyone is spending a lot of money," he said.

"There's big excitement."

However, due to the large volume of traffic by visitors in the summer months, he reckons the winner could be from anywhere.

"But if it happened in the winter time, it would definitely be a local," he added.

Champagne

Local Fine Gael councillor Siobhan McGloin said the win has really put the small village on the map.

Although the number of local residents has doubled in recent years, it's still a close-knit community where everyone knows each other, she said.

"There's great excitement. Hopefully it's someone local.The champagne is there and ready," she said. "But nobody has a clue who the winner is."

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