Dave Madden was watching it at home with his two-year-old son, his fiancé, Corinne, out for the night.
Given that there were 9,100 tickets sold in the Win A Kool House draw, chances are, Dave wasn’t the only one hooked on the live Facebook stream.
What made Dave that little different from all the others – and the murmuring crowd waiting patiently in Coláiste Chraobh Abhann’s sports hall this evening – was the simple fact that this Balinteer lad’s €105 ticket won him a €400,000, Grade A, top-of-the-range three-bedroom house.
“I still can’t believe it,” Dave said when MC Laura Wood got him on the phone. “I’ve just been pacing up and down the hall ever since I heard my ticket number being called out. It hasn’t sunk in, and I’m not sure it ever will.”
Struggling to get on the property ladder, tonight, in a flash, the lives of Dave and Corinne – and their little two-year-old boy – have been changed forever.
We got there early for the draw, just to be sure, to be sure. Especially given that GG was going to win the house. And the Caribbean cruise. Oh, and the spa day for 2, just to let all that good fortune gently sink in.
Naturally, because we were an hour early, the 7.30pm draw was, oh, about an hour late, as every single one of those 9,100 tickets had to be carefully separated and placed inside the raffle bin spinny thingy.
One. By. One.
Which took a lot, lot longer than anyone had anticipated, and thus left our glamorous MC flapping ever so slightly in the wind, inviting every and anyone up who might have a few words to say. Or a song to sing. Or even a magic trick.
There was always ever going to be just three big winners in tonight’s big fundraiser raffle – the freshly-minted homeowner, St Anthony’s Football Club and Kilcoole GAA – and after that initial sigh of disappointment in the room that no one there, or no one they knew, had won, news that Dave had a young family who had been renting for 15 years, in search of a permanent home, drew a mighty cheer.
Big cheers too for the runners up. The 2nd prize of a Royal Caribbean Cruise worth €3,000 went to Marian Howe in Cork; 3rd prize of a holiday of your choice worth €2,000 went to a local-ish, Ms Naomi Fisher of Greystones; 4th prize of a 55′ flat screen TV went to Galway lad Tony Broderick; 5th prize, donated by Gavin Hunt, of a four-ball including buggies & 4 steak dinners at Powerscourt Golf Club went to Kilcoole’s own Juliana Demery; 6th prize of €500 of Aer Lingus vouchers was won by Ian Neary in Bray; 7th prize of a Spa Day for 2 went to Colm Connolly from Tyrone; 8th prize of an Apple iPad was scooped up by Anne Fenelon from County Meath; 9th prize of four-ball and lunch for four at Druids Glen went to Sword’s Maria Murphy, and the winner of the 10th prize of a romantic dinner for two was Brigid Lang from Kilcoole.
Fair fecks to all involved in this wonderful community fundraiser, from Willie Doyle’s initial spark to developer Derek Burton’s offer of The Willows prize, and, of course, that 10-strong committee (led, slightly and sprightly, by Pappy Frawley) who came together from St Anthony’s and the GAA for the good of the town. Each club should be about €160,000 better off after tonight, and that will mean a much brighter, cleaner, faster, cooler and simply better future for this and future generations of young Kilcoole kids.
You can grab a bit of the atmosphere tonight below, as those winning tickets were called out, and beyond, some shots from the big night…