Mayo people know only too well the sensation of arriving in Dublin with high hopes, only to make the long trip back to the west of Ireland disappointed and empty-handed.
The pursuit of Sam Maguire goes on and on, but for a group of Mayo pensioners the big prize has not eluded them the way it has their footballers on so many occasions.
Forty-seven members of the aptly named Young at Heart (YAH) active retirement group from Parke/Turlough bounded off their special bus and into the offices of the National Lottery in Dublin on Monday to collect their €1 million Daily Millions jackpot win.
“They’re such a nice crowd. I’m a Dub living in Mayo,” said the syndicate organizer, Michael Cosgrave. “They accepted me – except when Mayo is playing Dublin. My wife is a nutcase when it comes to Mayo football. I’m in trouble then and I have to listen to her and take the abuse.”
The syndicate has been using the same numbers for the last seven years. The members bought the winning ticket, as they always do, at Turlough Stores in Castlebar.
I got three texts from my sons telling me that they are my favorite son and they will bring in the turf for me every morning
Mr Cosgrave was on his way to Swords to visit his sister when a shop assistant called to tell him that he thought the syndicate might have hit the jackpot.
The winning ticket was sold on October 3rd but it has taken until now for all 47 members of the syndicate to be present in order to collect their individual winnings of €21,276.60 each.
The money could hardly be more timely given that the most expensive season of the year is almost upon us.
“We haven’t got Sam yet,” said Breda O’Boyle (82). “He’s in cold storage. I’m in the rags. I’m from the west of Ireland. What do you expect? Mayo, God help us!”
It will be less of “Mayo, God help us” for these lively pensioners this Christmas and more helping others to spend the money. “I got three texts from my sons telling me that they are my favorite son and they will bring in the turf for me every morning,” said Mrs O’Boyle.
Her friend Teresa Flanagan (86) said she needs a new pair of boots and a watch. “I can’t think of anything else,” she said.
“And you said on the way up, Sky TV,” added her friend. “You can hear Michael Commins [presenter of Ireland West TV’s country and western show] every morning.”
It was the first time that the members of a lottery syndicate turned up in person to collect their winnings since the pandemic.
The winning normal play ticket was sold on Thursday, October 3rd, at Turlough Stores in Turlough, just outside Castlebar, Co Mayo. The National Lottery held a reception for the winners today.