Spain drowning victim Gregory Long, 21, was on first foreign holiday

Gregory Long from Rylane, Co Cork, was found ina swimming pool in Torremolinos. Picture: Provision

Tributes have been paid to a 21-year-old Corkman who drowned in a swimming pool, hours after jetting out to Spain on his first foreign holiday.

Gregory Long, who was described as a talented all-round sportsman and thorough young gentleman, was found floating in a swimming pool on Wednesday evening at an apartment complex in the Costa del Sol resort of Torremolinos.

Gregory, from Rylane near Macroom, had been with around 15 other locals and relatives celebrating a friend’s 40th birthday. His mother Trish was with the party.

His body was discovered in the deep end of the swimming pool at the Apartamentos Buensol at around 7pm on Wednesday.

Despite the best efforts of paramedics, they were unable to revive him.

A police investigation is underway but the indications point to a tragic accident. A post mortem was due to be completed yesterday at the Institute of Forensic Medicine in Malaga.

The Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed it provided consular assistance to the family.

Gregory was one of the mainstays of Rylane Celtic FC. Club chairman Willie Dennehy described him as a fine soccer player, who was skillful and talented.

“He was a salt of the earth kind of guy, a young gentleman and the whole place is in absolute shock.

“Greg was very popular and always smiling. He had the strongest right foot in the team and last year scored a spectacular volley from 42 yards out.”

Mr Dennehy added: “He’ll be missed big time by all his team-mates. His older brother Mark also plays for us. Greg was one of the main men in our team and was a big help in getting us promoted for three years in a row to where we are now, playing in Premier A. All our sympathies are with his family.”

Gregory was an extremely good darts player and also a leading member of the Aghabullogue GAA Club, playing hurling and football with them.

He was due to line out with the U21 football team on April 9 for the mid-Cork B football final against Éire Óg. Aghabullogue GAA Club secretary Mick Healy said club members and everybody living in the locality were in deep shock after hearing the news. “The first thing I want to say on behalf of all club members is that our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this moment in time. It’s heartbreaking to lose somebody so young. It’s a terrible tragedy and we’re all very saddened by it.”

Gregory, a former student at Coachford Community College, played at midfield in the football team and wing back in hurling.

Mr Healy added Gregory was “a fantastic young lad” who had been a great servant for the club through underage, intermediate and U-21 level.

He had started work in the construction sector prior to last Christmas with William Barrett Builders Ltd in Berrings.

His boss, Willie, a well-know GAA referee, said he and his three colleagues were absolutely heartbroken by the tragic news.

“It was his first job. He was an affable young fella and he’d do anything you asked him to do. He was a very good employee, very diligent and never late for work. He loved driving my telescopic loadall.

“We’re absolutely devastated and haven’t come to terms with it,” Mr Barrett said.


Lifestyle

Milton Jones talks hecklers, Hawaiian shirts and the world’s favourite clever Irishman with Richard FitzpatrickMilton Jones: When one line will do just fine

After almost 70 years of trying the search goes on, but so far nothing has been found.Sky Matters: Whether we are alone in the Universe has exercised many great minds

Diarmuid Vaughan, Cork Airport Hotel general manager, spent some school years in the US. He spoke to Ciara McDonnellSchool Daze: How the GAA gave direction to GM of Cork Airport Hotel

Jason Totos is Director of Golf with Carton House, Co Kildare since November 2018.You've Been Served: Jason Totos on 20 years in the hospitality sector and caddying for Jack Nicklaus

More From The Irish Examiner