John Mullane was Balls' guest on this week's Hurling Debate with Centra, and he had some surprising admissions to make.
Chief amongst them was that he feels Cork fans are the best in the country. The De La Salle man had some of his most memorable scores against Cork and also some of his more infamous moments such as his red card in the 2004 Munster final and his two-fingered salute to the rebel fans in the previous year's Munster final.
However, Mullane revealed that he has softened in his stance towards Cork fans partly due to family members now being Cork fans.
But more importantly, he emphasized that underneath the odd antagonistic moment was a healthy respect for another great hurling county with a fervent fan base.
I never had a problem with Cork. That was me, that was me back in that time. And I suppose, that was part and parcel of that rivalry between Cork and Waterford. Terrific games to be involved in.
But look, Cork supporters are, we saw that day in the semi-final against Waterford. I mean they brought nearly 50,000 to Croke Park.
Cork are great for the game and I think Cork are coming. I thought they might fall short this year, they had a very good year of it.
But my relationship with Cork supporters, I think there's a mutual respect. I've a mutual respect for them and they've probably the best supporters in the country. I think, someone remarked that they're, what Dublin bring to the football, Cork bring to the hurling.
And I'd like to think that Cork people have a mutual respect for me, but no I've no problem with Cork.
The full show is available here with his reflections on Cork fans and those classic duels over the years at the 39:35 mark.