Wednesday 13 December 2017

Philip to be laid to rest in his native Ballyhooly next Monday

Tragic Ballyhooly student Philip Leahy, who passed away at the weekend following a swimming accident in the US will be laid to rest next Monday in the local cemetery.

The 22-year-old J-1 student, passed away on Sunday evening four days after getting into difficulties while swimming with friends last Wednesday at a beach in Ocean City, Maryland.

It is understood that Philip, a student at the CIT, suffered a cardiac arrest after being rescused from the sea and was placed on life support at Atlantic General Hospital.

His mother Mary, brothers William and Patrick, and aunt Mary Walsh had maintained a vigil at Philip’s bedside prior to his passing on Sunday evening.

Following the accident a Go Fund Me appeal that had been set-up last Saturday by the local community in Philip’s name to cover medical expenses had raised more than €93,000 prior to it being closed after news of his death emerged.

Philip was the son of the late Philly Leahy, who died suddenly in 2014 while campaigning for a seat on Cork County Council.

An accomplished hurler and footballer, Philip was the youngest ever captain of the Ballyhooly junior B football team, last year leading them to their first ever county title.

Ballyhooly GAA PRO John O’Keeffe said the tightly-knit local community was left reeling following Philip’s death. “Philip had an incredible enthusiasm and was an extremely well liked and popular young man. When news of the accident broke we held a prayer vigil at the local GAA pitch. The response to the Go Fund Me appeal showed the respect in which Philip and his family are held by the local community,” said Mr O’Keeffe.

Locals packed the Catholic church in Ballyhooly on Tuesday evening for another prayer vigil led by parish priest Fr Pat Scanlon and priest-in-residence Fr Donal Broderick.

Fr Broderick said there was an understandably heavy atmosphere of shock and sadness prior to and during the vigil.

“This was expressed through total silence among the congregation as people tried to come to terms with what has happened. You hear about these kinds of tragedies but never expect it to happen in your own community,” said Fr Broderick.

During the hour-long service prayers were offered up for Philip and his family. “The large congregation was a sign of how just how popular Philip was and the huge respect in which the Leahy family is held locally. The whole community is simply staggered at what has happened,” said Fr Broderick.

Philip had completed his studies at the CIT in June and was to have been conferred with his degree in business and recreation later on this year.

Dr Dan Collins, academic affairs and student admin officer at the college said that news of Philip’s death had been met with “great sadness by a large number of people... so many who had been hoping the best but fearing the worst.”

He said Philip had been held in high esteem by staff and students alike. “The sympathy of the entire CIT community is extended to his mother, family, friends and to Philip’s home community of Ballyhooly.”


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