Preston North End defender Kevin O’Connor has won the National Lottery’s New Year’s Eve Millionaire Raffle.

The 22-year-old was named the winner on Tuesday morning after validating his ticket at a supermarket in Castlebridge in the Republic of Ireland and he is believed to have collected his winnings from the National Lottery’s headquarters in Dublin on Tuesday afternoon.

O’Connor moved to Deepdale from Cork City for an undisclosed fee in June 2017.

Since then, the former Republic of Ireland Under 21s international has featured nine times for the Lilywhites this season.

According to the Irish Times, the young defender received the ticket as a Christmas present from his uncle and godfather Peadar Murphy, who sent his nephew the ticket along with the message: “I wish you the best of luck”, which proved to be successful.

The ticket itself was purchased at Flannagan’s supermarket in Castlebridge on December 14.

The shops’ proprietor, Louis Flannagan, greeted the defender upon his arrival to validate the ticket and was thrilled to have the millionaire winning ticket to come from his store.

He said: ““Once the ticket was validated I asked Kevin for a hold of it [the ticket]so I could become a millionaire for a few short seconds.

“I was delighted for Kevin and his parents, Brian and Breda. One could not meet a nicer person or family. When he [Kevin] came into the supermarket along with his girlfriend it was the very same Kevin of old. He has not changed one bit. He is as nice a person as one could meet.”

After hearing the news of the success of his former teammate, Cork City player Steven Beattie cheekily tweeted the Preston defender in attempt to reclaim some borrowed money.

https://twitter.com/steven5beattie/status/948237391868948485

O’Connor is set to return to his club in time for their FA Cup third round tie against Wycombe Wanderers at Adams Park on Saturday.