Former Waterford manager Derek McGrath believes Kilkenny are building nicely as they head into the All-Ireland SHC semi-finals in two weeks' time.

They beat Cork at Croke Park yesterday to set up a clash with defending champions Limerick in the last four.

It's the furthest the Cats have gotten in the Championship since they were runners-up to Tipperary 2016.

"Kilkenny are getting their best players on the pitch at the right time, with the exception of Cillian Buckley, whose form and fitness hasn't come right back," said McGrath on The Sunday Game.

"Richie Hogan is re-integrated into the team, Walter Walsh making a big impact at half-time.

"So for me, they're just getting it right when it counts."

Kilkenny players celebrate after the final whistle

Fellow panelist Jackie Tyrrell agreed that it was a massive victory for Brian Cody and his players, after they were beaten by Wexford in the Leinster final at the end of last month.

"It was a big win for Kilkenny," according to Tyrrell.

"There was an element of pressure if Kilkenny didn't win today. They hadn't been in an All-Ireland semi-final since 2016."

Kilkenny and Limerick clashed in last year's All-Ireland quarter-final, with the Treaty City men recording their first win over the Cats in 45 years on their way to the Liam McCarthy.

McGrath says that Kilkenny are in a better position heading into this year's encounter.

"There's something very appealing about the Kilkenny players."

"The Joey Holdens, the Paddy Deegans, the Conor Fogartys, the Padraig Walshs... there's an ordinariness about them, in terms of their whole approach.

"There seems to be a real ability to dig in, and be unbelievably resilient.

"The general logic today was that Cork would win that game because of the forwards they had.

"Kilkenny were having none of it.

"This time last year Walter Walsh wasn't fit for the Limerick game. John Donnelly was arguably fouled up in the corner of the pitch and Tom Morrissey gets the point.

"They like nothing more than to be the underdogs, and everyone writing them off, like they were."

The other semi-final will see Tipperary take on Leinster champions Wexford.

After the Premier County saw off Laois in the quarter-final, manager Liam Sheedy said the Yellowbellies would be 'raging-hot favourites' for the clash.

But Tyrrell is backing Tipperary to get to the final.

"I don't think the bookies will have them as raging hot favourites. You would still have to fancy Tipperary slightly.

"Wexford will be rubbing their hands that we are all fancying Tipp but I still think that there is a sting in this Tipperary team.

"They played relatively in third gear against Laois. Cathal Barrett coming back was a big boost for them."