A PRIEST who put Jack Clancy on the path to a fine football career also presided over his funeral at a packed St Patrick’s Catholic Church in Albury on Friday.
Father Kevin Mogg coached Clancy, who died aged, 71, after a brave battle with cancer dating back to September last year, at under-17 level at West Heidelberg YCW with another famous football product of the area, Collingwood champion goal-kicker Peter McKenna, also in attendance.
McKenna and Clancy were under-19 team-mates at the Magpies in the mid-1960s before the latter headed to the Ovens and Murray league in 1968 to play for eventual premiers, Corowa, after finding an invitation from newly installed coach Fred Swift too hard to knock back.
“It was the gift he had," Father Mogg said.
Clancy’s grandchildren, Ebony and Jaara Moran, also spoke about the impact he had on their lives.
“I loved your cheeky spirit and our daily banter,” Ebony said.
“You were a fighter right to the end and thank you for keeping your word and hanging in there for my 21st birthday.”
Jaara, who is starting out on his football career with one of his grand-father’s former clubs, Albury, said he showed unconditional care.
“You are my mentor, my coach and my father figure,” he said.
“Your stories were the greatest and the best.”
Clancy’s children Shaun, Lisa and Justin also spoke.
Tom Doolan, who played under Clancy at Albury before launching a coaching career of his own, said he was a friend, mentor and the “best bloke ever to have a beer with”.
He said his mate’s biggest victory in life was marrying Christine, whose 17th birthday party he gate-crashed.
“He was always interesting and definitely fun to be with and a good man,” Doolan said.
“As a footballer he had sublime skills on both sides of his body, was an absolute team player and revered and respected wherever he went.
“In the two years I spent with Jack as assistant coach in 1979-80, I received a fast track apprenticeship in people management second to none.
“He had a special skill with young players, particularly those players who were wild similar to himself as a young Collingwood lad.
“The wilder they were the more he helped you, loved you and tried to get you on track.
“He wanted players to take spectacular marks and run and bounce the ball.
“Watching Jack’s teams play was the way the game should be played.”
Father Joel Wallace from St Patrick’s assisted Father Mogg and other readings were performed by John Bueno, Neil Blair and Brenda Huckstepp.