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'We've all been devastated': Tributes paid to J1 student after death in Maryland

Philip Leahy had gone into cardiac arrest after getting into difficulty while swimming in Ocean City in Maryland.

Image: Go Fund Me

TRIBUTES HAVE BEEN paid to a young Cork man who died after going into cardiac arrest while swimming in Maryland.

Philip Leahy (22) from Ballyhooly in Co Cork died last night, having been fighting for his life following the incident on Wednesday morning.

The student was swimming with three other people at a beach in the North Division Street area of Ocean City when they hit rough water and began to struggle.

One of the swimmers made it to land and called 911 for assistance. The other two swimmers were assisted to shore by the Ocean City Fire Department but he began to suffer from cardiac arrest.

While he was in serious condition in hospital, a Go Fund Me campaign was set up to help his family with medical expenses. That fund, which is now closed, raised over €93k.

Philip Leahy was a student at Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) and was a talented GAA player, captaining Ballyhooly to its first ever County Junior B Football title last year.

John O’Keefe of Ballyholey GAA Club told RTÉ Radio 1 that Philip was “a lovely young man” who was an “enthusiastic and committed football player and hurler” who got on well with everyone in the community.

“This has been terribly sad since we heard about it last Wednesday evening,” said O’Keefe, sending condolences to the young man’s family.

A prayer meeting was held on the Ballyhooly GAA pitch last week, attended by over 300 people.

The Go Fund Me campaign set up by the community went “beyond our expectations”, said O’Keefe.  ”Hopefully that will go somewhere to sort out his medical expenses, which are usually very high in America,” he said.

It’s understood Philip Leahy’s immediate family travelled to Ocean City to be at his side following the incident. He was due to graduate from CIT in October.

Read: Over €70,000 raised for Cork student in serious condition after suffering cardiac arrest while swimming>

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