Kilkenny hurling manager Brian Cody has said that his side are "acutely aware" that they will be up against the best team in the country as they prepare to face Limerick in the championship semi-finals.
Cody was speaking after his side beat Cork 2-27 to 3-18 at Croke Park.
"They are a top-class forward line and a top-class team, obviously," said Cody of Sunday's opponents.
"They are very, very difficult to counteract. But like all good teams, it starts at the other end of the field. Because it is a whole team thing, and a whole fifteen thing. Without the application of everyone on the field, it would have been very difficult.
"Some of our players did have a tough enough time early on in particular, but showed real character, resolve and honesty not to just drop the head but to keep going to the very end."
Also on today's match, Cody paid tribute to the Kilkenny bench, as they contributed five points between them, with naturally limited game time.
"We always talk about our panel, and possibly some of the players didn't get enough game time in other games. But we were acutely aware of how they were playing in training and the form that they were showing. It worked well for us today."
But after seeing off this Cork side, Cody was quick to turn his attention to the threat posed by a Limerick side that are All-Ireland and league champions.
"It is a 'from the frying pan into the fire' job!
"We are in the semi-final, and we're very happy to be there. But we are acutely aware that we are playing the best team in the country.
"They were the best team in the country last year because they won the All Ireland final. They are the best team in the country even more so now because they followed that up by winning the league - and their form in that was exceptional.
"I think they are the favourites for our game and for eventual honours - but that is a terrific challenge to be facing!"
Kilkenny: E. Murphy (0-01, 0-01f); P. Murphy, H. Lawlor, J. Holden; P. Deegan, P. Walsh, C. Buckley; C. Browne (0-01), C. Fogarty (0-02); J. Donnelly (0-02), TJ Reid (0-10, 0-10f), R. Leahy (0-01); A. Mullen (0-01), C. Fennelly (1-01), R. Hogan (1-02).
Subs: W. Walsh (0-03) for Buckley (h/t), B. Sheehan (0-01) for Hogan (50), J. Maher for Browne (57), B. Ryan (0-02) for Donnelly (63).
Cork: A. Nash; S. O'Donoghue, E. Cadogan, N. O'Leary; M. Ellis, S. McDonnell, M. Coleman (0-01); B. Cooper, D. Fitzgibbon (0-01); D. Kearney, C. Lehane, L. Meade; A. Cadogan (0-04), P. Horgan (3-10, 1-00pen, 0-08f), S. Harnedy (0-02).
Subs: R O'Flynn for Lehane (45), S. Kingston for Kearney (47), T. O'Mahony for Cooper (50), D. Cahalane for O'Donoghue (54), C. Joyce for Meade (63).