Prayers for student after beach resort heart attack

Prayers have been offered in Ballyhooley, Co Cork, for a J1 student from the area who suffered a cardiac arrest on a beach in Ocean City, Maryland.

Philip Leahy, aged 22, got into trouble and had to be rescued from the water at about 7am local time on Wednesday. He had been swimming with friends when he experienced difficulty. The alarm was raised and he was taken from the water by the Ocean City Fire Department. However, he suffered a cardiac arrest on the beach after the rescue.

Philip is in a serious condition at Atlantic General Hospital. His mother Ann has flown to the States to be at his bedside.

Fine Gael councillor Noel McCarthy says the Leahy family have experienced considerable grief in recent years; Philip’s late father, Phil, died unexpectedly in 2014 a fortnight after launching his bid for a seat on Cork County Council.

Phil Leahy was bidding for election in the Fermoy area for Fine Gael in what was his first time standing for public office after decades of involvement with the party. The dairy farmer from Ballyhooly, who was in his early 60s, passed away in April 2014 while in the middle of his election campaign.

Mr McCarthy said Philip was in the prayers of everyone in the area.

“My heart goes out to that family,” he said. “I know the mother and possibly the brother has gone to be with him. We are all praying for him. His father was up for election two years ago in May and he died before it. He was a very popular man and they are a respected family.”

The Department of Foreign Affairs is liaising with the family to provide consular assistance.

Meanwhile, a vigil was held for Philip at Ballyhooley GAA on Thursday. A Ballyhooley GAA spokesman confirmed that prayers had been said for Philip but declined to comment further saying she wanted to protect the privacy of the family.


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