Sporting community mourns death of league legend

Former Australian rugby league player Des McGovern has died aged 84.
Former Australian rugby league player Des McGovern has died aged 84. Kevin Farmer

THE Toowoomba sporting community is mourning the loss of one of its most enduring ambassadors with the death  of Des McGovern.

McGovern, 84, passed away in St Andrews Hospital at 1am today following a recent illness.

His partner of 12 years Bev Higgins said McGovern entered hospital on Monday.

"Des has battled with his health for the last couple of months but went down hill very quickly this week," Higgins said.

"Up until then he enjoyed life at home.

"Des was a great man with a very high standard of principals and he will be very sadly missed."

McGovern was an integral part of Toowoomba's golden era of rugby league during the 1950s.

His career included two Kangaroo tours, seven Test matches and 15 games for Queensland.

McGovern began playing rugby league in Ipswich before moving to Toowoomba in 1947.

He toured as a winger with the Kangaroos in 1952-53 and 1956-57, playing all three Tests against Great Britain on the second tour.

McGovern was a member of the Toowoomba Bulimba Cup teams, coached by Duncan Thompson during the 1950s.

Following his playing days, McGovern became a successful coach in Queensland country regions and Toowoomba, where he coached the Clydesdales.

His many roles in the sport included working as a rugby league writer for the Downs Star and The Chronicle.

McGovern also went on to become one of the Darling Downs best known radio sporting voices during a 36-year working partnership with broadcaster Pat O'Shea.

The pair began their long association calling Toowoomba rugby league matches on radio station 4AK before moving to 4GR, 4WK and finally 102.7FM.

McGovern retired from full-time commentary at the end of the 2010 season, aged 82.

He is survived by his children Barbara, Desmond, Margaret and their families.

His funeral will be held at Toowoomba's Our Lady of Lourdes Church, on what would have been his 85th birthday, next Wednesday, at 1pm.

Topics:  rugby league toowoomba

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