Ronan Hale joins Ross County

Cliftonville’s Irish Cup final hero has joined the Scottish Premiership outfit

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)

66 days after his heroics helped deliver Cliftonville their first Irish Cup success since 1979, Ronan Hale is on his way to full-time professional football in Scotland.

The 25 year-old has signed a three-year deal at Scottish Premiership side Ross County who are managed by former Scotland international Don Cowie. Hale joined the Reds in 2022 from Larne and scored an incredible 50 goals in 80 appearances for the club, including 21 in 31 games last season.

He will go down in Cliftonville history books with his double at Windsor Park on 4th May securing a 3-1 win over Linfield and the coveted Irish Cup success that so many in the red half of North Belfast craved for so long.

The image of him running 60 yards with arms aloft before slotting into an empty net will forever be an iconic moment and Hale thanked the Cliftonville fans in a statement on the official club website:

“I want to thank the fans who have been incredible since I arrived here. We have had some great moments together. I am a boyhood Cliftonville fan and it has been a very difficult decision to leave but I feel that it is one that I cannot turn down.

I am 25 now and you don’t know how short your career may be so I want to give it my best shot and do what is best for my young family and I.”

The former Republic of Ireland youth international also played for St. Patrick’s Athletic, Derry City and Crusaders before moving to Inver Park in 2020 having spent time in the academy at Birmingham City.

Cliftonville chairman Kieran Harding thanked Hale on behalf of the club:

“We look forward to seeing Ronan play in Scotland and I know our supporters would not only like to wish him well but thank him for the many wonderful memories he has provided.”

Hale is now the third attacker to leave Solitude already this summer having followed fellow cup final scorer Sam Ashford and Ben Wilson out of the exit door. The pair moved to Wealdstone United and Airdrieonians respectively. That is a total of 48 goals that Jim Magilton will need to replace.

Hale’s new side will be playing their sixth consecutive Scottish Premiership season having defeated Raith Rovers in a promotion/relegation play-off having finished 11th last season.