As a deluge of rain swept through New York on Wednesday, the weather was the last thing on people's minds at a small store in Yonkers, where Niamh and Donal Finnan, a couple originally from County Kildare, proudly accepted a $41M check from the New York State Lottery.
The Finnans are the biggest-ever Lottery winners in Westchester, and one of the biggest individual winners in the state's Lotto history..
The Finnans, who told IrishCentral they were “still trying to come to terms with it all,” won the $41M million with a "Quick Pick" ticket on May 16, which Donal purchased at a neighborhood store.
“Donal always does the Lotto,” says Niamh. “But never did we think we would win this big.
“My husband’s the one who spent $10 on a ticket,” explained Niamh, who settled in Yonkers 25 years ago. He picked the numbers himself for the first eight games and, fortunately for us, he also asked for two sets of Quick Pick numbers to make an even 10. None of his numbers matched, but the very first set of Quick Pick numbers did.”
Niamh was at home with her mother in Kildare when Donal called her with the news.
“I was in Ireland visiting family when Donal called with the news. I made him repeat it to my mother to make sure he was telling the truth. I knew by the tone of his voice it was true,” she said with a smile.
After making the call to his wife, Donal did what any new multimillionaire would do: He mowed the lawn.
Niamh arrived back in New York the following day, but there was no limousine waiting and she had to make her own way home.
“Donal was at work, so he couldn’t pick me up,” she laughs.
When the couple, who have been married five years, finally reunited later that evening, Donal handed his wife the ticket and said it was hers to keep.
Both Finnans say they plan to stay in Yonkers and continue working, she as a dental hygienist and he as a foreman for the New York City-based Broadway Concrete Co..
“This is just the icing on the cake,” she said. “A chance to fix up the house, add a new bathroom; get a new garden shed. We’ll take care of family. We have no real plans set in stone.”
The Finnans claimed their $41M prize on June 15 at the Lottery center in Fishkill, after a full month safeguarding the winning ticket.
“We wanted to take care of our affairs and get proper advice,” she said. “The ticket was in the bank the whole time.”
The happy couple will receive their prize money in one lump-sum payment totaling $23,269,397. After taxes, they'll take home $15,156,057.