Cork student dies following US swimming accident

Cork student dies following US swimming accident
Philip Leahy had captained Ballyhooly's Junior B side to the County Championship victory last year. Pictured here celebrating with his teammates. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

A 22-year-old Cork student on a J1 visa in the United States has tragically died after a five-day fight for survival following a swimming accident in Maryland last Wednesday.

Phillip Leahy, a CIT student from Ballyhooly near Fermoy, got into difficulty while swimming at Ocean City and was taken to Atlantic General Hospital where he was put on life support immediately.

His mother Ann and brothers William and Patrick flew to the US and kept a vigil at his bedside over the weekend after arriving on Thursday Friends of Mr Leahy, who captained Ballyholly GAA to their first ever County Junior B football title in 2016, set up a GoFundMe account to pay for medical expenses after he had been taken into hospital.

In just four days, over €90,000 was raised after an initial target of €60k had been set.

He had been in the US since June and was working in two different jobs. He had travelled with friends and was due to return to his studies at CIT in September.

The fund organisers said: “Thanks so much to everyone for the overwhelming response we have received so far - we really have been blown away.

“Thanks to everyone again for the unbelievable generosity they have shown so far - it really has been amazing.” Ballyhooly GAA confirmed that Mr Leahy had passed away on its Facebook page just after 6am this morning and thanked people for their support.

“As you all know one of our most committed young players Philip Leahy has been involved in a very serious swimming accident in Ocean City, New Jersey.

“Thanks to all the neighbouring GAA Clubs who have been in continuous contact with us over the past few days.” The Leahy family are well-known in the Ballyhooly community. Mr Leahy's father, Philly, passed away suddenly during Cork County Council local elections in 2014. He was a Fine Gael candidate.

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