Ballygunner GAA Club and the Waterford County Board have taken the unprecedented step of apologising publicly to county hurling star John Mullane after he was wrongly removed from the side of the Fraher Field pitch last weekend.

The De La Salle talisman was automatically suspended after being sent-off on a straight red card in their drawn county senior hurling championship quarter-final six days earlier.

At Saturday’s replay he was standing on the sideline opposite the stand when, 10 minutes from the end of normal time, he was directed to leave the immediate vicinity of the pitch by Cappoquin referee Pat Casey at Ballygunner’s behest.

This was after the extraordinary sight of Gunners’ secretary Charlie Lapthorne entering onto the field of play demanding that the experienced inter-county match official tell Mullane to leave the perimeter of the pitch. The man who lifted the Munster Cup late last year unquestioningly complied with the referee’s instruction and spent the rest of the match, which again went to extra time, on the town embankment.