Chairman of the Fermanagh and Western Football League, Neil Jardine, has said that he has ‘no doubts about how I acted and I have nothing to reproach myself over’ following the Junior Cup final saga.

Jardine was accused of being the driving force behind Enniskillen Rangers being reinstated into the final with their semi-final conquerors Bessbrook United being dismissed from the competition after they were adjudged to have played an ineligible player in the semi-final clash.

The affair dragged on for close to two months with Tummery Athletic all the while left to wait on who they would play in the final and when the game was played it was Rangers who were to seal a third Junior Cup title in a row with a 1-0 win in the final at Ferney Park.

“From my point of view, what has happened, happened and I’m drawing a line under it,” said Jardine.

“I took an unwarranted level of abuse. There were accusations about me being untruthful and about driving a process and basically being the instigator behind Rangers being re-instated. That was never the case and that has been proved and is referenced in the decision that the appeals board made. I know I did nothing wrong, all I did was tell the truth and I have been lambasted for being truthful and if it comes down to that, well, there is nothing more you can do to change peoples opinion. I’ve absolutely no doubts about how I acted and what I did and I have nothing to reproach myself over,” he stated.

When the matter was dealt with originally, the IFA Junior and Youth Committee sided with Bessbrook on the issue but the IFA Board over-ruled their decision and re-instated Rangers at Bessbrook’s expense.

“We were in unprecedented waters, there has never been a situation before where a committee has taken a decision that is so obviously against the rules and against the advice they were given.

“Bessbrook broke a rule, albeit unwittingly, but the overriding thing on player registrations is you have to be registered, it is affiliated football and that is the pillar on which it is built on. It is also the teams responsibility to ensure that players are registered and eligible to play and they and their league failed on that one.

“If the Board hadn’t have stepped in and took the decision they did then it really was tearing the rulebook up in the face of everybody,” he added.

However, he stresses that Tummery were the side to really lose out from the whole affair while he also states that Rangers were an innocent party in the whole process.

“Tummery were the biggest losers, they missed a day out in Windsor Park over it and that is a big part of getting to the Junior Cup final. It was less so for Rangers because they had been there two years in a row so they knew what it was about so that was the unfortunate thing. Rangers though were innocent in it all and they were being dragged through the mud for absolutely nothing.

“Yes, they were the team that ultimately benefitted but in terms of everything that went on with Bessbrook being dismissed, Rangers were the third party and they could not influence anything in it. They just had to stay in there until the process was finished,” he said.