HE’S known as the voice of the Ovens and Murray but Des Lonergan has hung up his microphone for the last time.
The OAKFM caller had a dream end to his days on the air waves, with a back-to-back win for his beloved Yarrawonga.
“It’s been a great journey, absolutely amazing,” Lonergan said.
“I’m getting older and age has caught up with me, I think the time is right to move on, but I love the game too much to give it away.”
With a year of football broadcasting in 1996, O and M coverage began in earnest in 2005.
Since then, Lonergan has barely missed a round.
And while it’s the caller’s lot to be neutral, he admitted to getting a little “emotional” when it came to the Pigeons.
“I get a bit excited about it but you try see it all the way through,” Lonergan said.
“I love all footy, and I’ve followed O and M since I was a kid given I’m born and bred Yarrawonga.
“So I’ve always enjoyed when they’ve won but Yarra don’t have to win for me to enjoy footy — it’s the people you meet and you’ve got a bird’s eye view of the game.”
Lonergan said there had been many highlights of commentary days, from watching the “tough as nails” Jon McCormick at Wangaratta to calling his son Joe while playing at Wodonga Raiders.
And of course he’s enjoyed the Fevola show.
“He’s given so much to the league and he’s brought so much to footy,” Lonergan said.
“There have been others, too, that have contributed so much over the journey.”
Alongside him in the commentary box have been the likes of David Johnston and Ian Gambold.
“I don’t think we’ve ever had a cross word in all the time,” Lonergan said.
“There have been a few difficult times when we’ve gone off the air, times the equipment doesn’t want to work the way we want it to — but that’s life.
“Not everything goes according to plan and the scripts get altered.”
But ultimately it’s all about the football, and Lonergan said the O and M brought out the best in people.
“It’s still tribal, Albury people are very passionate, Yarrawonga people are very passionate, Corowa-Rutherglen are very passionate,” he said.
“You look at the Myrtleford side over the years when they were down, they had a strong core of supporters who were absolute steel and that was inspirational to watch.
“It’s in tough times when people come to the fore, that’s when the cream really rises and that’s what I love.”