Belfast Telegraph

Rory Hale savours tweet revenge as Seaview winner follows Linfield's social media jibe

Rory Hale netted the only goal of the game as Crusaders edged out Linfield on Friday evening.
Rory Hale netted the only goal of the game as Crusaders edged out Linfield on Friday evening.

By Steven Beacom in the Sunday Life

Rory Hale has revealed he was delighted to silence Linfield after being the subject of a cheeky social media post earlier this year.

The Blues’ official Twitter account made light of the Hale error which gifted David Healy’s men a late equalising goal in February’s Irish Cup clash — but the 22-year-old made amends with a stunning winner in Friday’s Seaview showdown.

“There was a social media impact after the tweet in the Irish Cup game,” said Hale. “Also after the goal with (Linfield) players running up to me. Forget about that though. We’ve gone out to win a game of football and luckily I’ve got the winner.

“I honestly got fined a fiver during the week after I skied one on to the motorway so one of my shots had to go into the net sooner or later!"

In a battle of the Irish League’s heavyweights, it was fitting that Hale’s stunner was the difference because he was a knockout performer in front of a full house on Friday night.

The goal was the crowning glory in a dynamic display that saw him keep the dangerous Bastien Hery quiet. He was all over the Frenchman like a rash.

“I’ve played against him several times now. He used to play for Limerick when I was at Galway. I played against him twice there — lost one, drew one.

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“I played against him three times last season for Derry against Waterford — won once, lost twice so he’s got the better of me a few times so I had to get the better of him at some stage.”

In what was a tense, tight, compelling battle chances were few and far between.

At 1-0, Ferguson denied Ross Clarke while, in the 95th minute, a drive from Blues substitute Daniel Reynolds was kept out by Gerard Doherty.

The result means Crusaders are 10 points ahead of Linfield, though the champions have three games in hand.

“It’s a brilliant lift for the boys,” added Hale.

“Linfield had a great European run and I know they have games in hand but you have to win those games in hand.

“Two of those games are away to Larne and Ballymena so it’s not certain they will win them. We just have to win our games and keep putting the points on the board and the rest can chase us.”

Crues boss Stephen Baxter was proud of his players, particularly with how they kept their shape and discipline.

He said: “It was hard fought with two great teams going at it. When I watched Linfield’s 7-0 win over Glenavon during the week and saw the quality of their movement, we had to make sure they didn’t do that to us. That’s probably why we came away with the points.”

Fair in his assessment, Linfield counterpart David Healy said: “It was frustrating for us. We didn’t do enough to win. I don’t think we did enough to lose what I thought was an edgy, cagey game.

“Credit to Hale for their goal, it was a good strike but we are disappointed with the manner we conceded it.”

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