How the Cliftonville and Linfield players rated as Reds end 45-year hoodoo

Rory Hale, Ronan Hale and Patrick Burns shine for Irish Cup winners

Chris Curran
Chris Curran of Cliftonville after winning the Irish Cup during the Irish Cup final where the Reds ended a 45-year wait for the silverware (Andrew McCarroll/Andrew McCarroll/ Pacemaker Pres)

David Odumosu: Suffered injury and forced to withdraw before the break but dealt well with everything in a testing opening half hour. 7

Shea Kearney: Incredible first season for the former academy player. Supreme fitness levels and did well against Cooper. 7

Sean Stewart: Cat and mouse with Kirk Millar and probably broke even. Some lovely deft touches down the left flank. 7

Patrick Burns: His best game for the Reds. Showed incredible fortitude and composure under pressure. 8.5

Jonny Addis: A cult hero. Defended brilliantly at times and led the Reds through stormy times. 8

Odhran Casey: Didn’t let the occasion get to him before suffering a bad injury on the stroke of half-time. 7

Conor Pepper: Celebrating his 30th birthday, Pepper doesn’t necessarily build the play but his energy and ability to break up play were first class. 7.5

Ronan Doherty: On big days, you need calmness on the ball. Superb final even though he was running on empty in extra-time. 8

Rory Hale: The best player in the Irish League. When others were struggling in the first half, it was Hale who steadied them. Brilliant assist for his side’s first goal Wonderful final. 9

Sam Ashford: Fully justified his inclusion despite a heavily strapped knee. Worked himself to a standstill and headed Cliftonville level. 8

Ronan Hale: His pre-goal celebrations for Cliftonville’s third at the death is already the indelible image of this final. At the double, with his first goal an absolute screamer. 8.5


Nathan Gartside: To come in cold to a cup final as he did before half-time and play as he did was hugely impressive. 8

Luke Kenny: A huge ask to come into the Reds defence and never put a foot wrong. 7.5

Chris Curran: Walks off into retirement an Irish Cup winner and club legend. Brilliant midfield shift. 8.5

Stephen Mallon: Defended so well and was very productive in possession too. 7.5

Ben Wilson: A livewire. His speed and trickery were immense. 7.5

Shea Gordon: His energy and tackling were vital in extra-time. 7.5

Cliftonville Ronan Hale  celebrates his goal     In todays   game  in Windsor Pk Belfast Cliftonville v Linfield in the Clearer Water irish Cup Final  4/5\/24  Pacemaker Press
Cliftonville's Ronan Hale celebrates after scoring in extra-time against Linfield in the Clearer Water Irish Cup final at Windsor Park Pacemaker: Pacemaker Press (Desmond Loughery/Pacemaker Press)

Chris Johns: Forced to push up as Linfield chased a late equaliser. Not overly extended and was beaten by two quality finishes. 7.5

Kirk Millar: He always posed a threat right to Linfield’s last breath. 7.5

Joel Cooper: If Linfield were going to eke out a leveller, Cooper was the most likely candidate. Some wonderful trickery. 8

Daniel Finlayson: Lost his footing for Ronan Hale’s screamer but was a steady presence at the heart of the Linfield defence. 7

Chris Shields: One of the best in the Irish League. A couple of stray passes which are collector’s items these days. Didn’t sense Ashford for Cliftonville’s equaliser. 7.5

Ben Hall: Had plenty of trouble minding Ronan Hale. Some brave-hearted defending but was undone by Hale for his first goal. 7

Jamie Mulgrew: Brilliant in the opening half hour and never misplaced a pass for the 77 minutes he was on the field. 7

Kyle McClean: Outstanding talent who has lit up the Irish League this season. He was well blotted out by the Reds midfield though. 7

Ethan McGee: Brilliantly timed run to head Linfield in front but didn’t affect the game after that. 7

Matthew Fitzpatrick: Generally well marshalled as the game wore on but looked a real threat in the opening half. 7

Chris McKee: Had some very good moments before running out of gas in the last quarter in normal time. 7


Joshua Archer: Neat and tidy and added more energy. 6.5

Braiden Graham: Didn’t get any change out of the Reds defence but service wasn’t great either. 6

Matthew Clarke: Some excellent passes left to right but couldn’t break down the Reds. 6.5

Jordan Stewart: His renowned trickery didn’t trouble the Reds. 6

Ethan McGee heads Linfield in front in the first half against Cliftonville (Andrew McCarroll/Andrew McCarroll/ Pacemaker Press)