Lotto Lightening Struck Twice In the Same Pub in 2002

The late John Shanahan with the proof of his double Lotto winning draws in his pub in January 2002. ©Photograph: John Reidy 28-1-2002
The late John Shanahan with the proof of his double Lotto winning draws in his pub in January 2002. ©Photograph: John Reidy 28-1-2002

With local GAA club Lottos bursting at their seams and waiting with every draw for an outright jackpot winner, I was reminded of a remarkable Lotto occurrence here in Castleisland in January 2002.

It was an event so rare that it had fireside, amateur and freelance mathematicians in the area pondering the odds of one man picking two sets of winning combinations in the same pub in two separate club lottos just a fortnight apart.

That’s just what happened in the Island at the time when An Riocht Athletic Club and Desmonds GAA Club held their lotto draws at McCarthy’s Bar at 75-77 Main Street. Between the two club jackpots they offered a total of €15,700.

The present Desmonds GAA Club Lotto is at €5,100 and the Cordal GAA Club Jackpot is at the highest ever figure of €7,200.

Euro Ushered In

January 2002 is a significant time in the financial history of Ireland as January 1st saw the ushering in of the Euro. That in itself sped up the closure of many small shops around the countryside as older shopkeepers feared they wouldn’t cope with the change and the changes.

An Riocht AC lotto gang were first into McCarthy’s Bar with their barrel and balls to get the new year off to a great start for some lucky punter on January 4th.

They asked proprietor, John Shanahan to do the honours and draw the tickets from the drum. They soon realised they had a winner for their whopping €7,400 jackpot and the lucky punter was identified as Jerry Cullinane from Scartaglin.

Same Pub – Same Hand

Then, just over a fortnight later, on Sunday January 20-2002, Castleisland Desmonds GAA Club held its draw at the same venue and again, as is the custom, the proprietor was asked to draw the tickets.

Incredibly Mr. Shanahan again drew a winning, four number combination and in the process made local farm manager, Sean Marron €6,300 better off.

In both cases Mr. Shanahan was on hand when it was discovered that the numbers he pulled out had resulted in big wins.

“I stayed with the checkers and they knew straight away that we had a winner on the night of the Riocht draw.

Joked About A Miracle

Before I drew the numbers on the Desmonds night here we joked that it would be a miracle if it happened that we had a winner in the same venue and drawn by the same hand again. But that’s how it turned out” said Mr. Shanahan.

The amateur number crunchers were still trying to work out the odds as that year flowed in and ebbed away. I don’t think they ever had cause to release the white smoke on their deliberations.

Time marches on and, sadly, it has taken both John Shanahan and his great pub – where the art of conversation and card games topped the list of entertainment.

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