Cork booked their place in the Allianz Hurling League Division 1 final following a cracking affair under the lights at Páirc Uí Chaoimh
Awaiting for the Rebels in the Division 1 League decider will be Wexford or Waterford, who face off in the other semi final clash on Sunday.
Kilkenny commenced with intent, as Martin Keoghan finished from close range to the back of the net moments after an Eoin Cody score.
Brian Cody's side were proving razor sharp in attacking during the opening half. The likes of Billy Ryan, Eoin Cody, Padraig Walsh and Alan Murphy were in top form, while Martin Keoghan was ruthless in front of goal.
Although Cork got off the mark through a Darragh Fitzgibbon point, with Patrick Horgan slotted over a pair of frees for the Rebels and Alan Connolly also pointing, Kilkenny provided the right responses.
Following what was a strong start, it was Kilkenny that held the advantage lead at 1-6 to 0-4 after 15 minutes.
Cork found a momentum surge midway through the first half, as Ciarán Joyce got a cracking score from long distance. Horgan showed his usual red hot accuracy from frees, as he levelled the game up 0-9 to Kilkenny’s 1-6 after 22 minutes.
A gripping contest was developing on Leeside. Connolly and Horgan were proving to be lively options in the Cork attack.
However it was Kilkenny that held a four point advantage at the half time break. Keoghan finished with a crisp low finish for what was his second goal of the contest just shy of the half an hour mark, beyond the grasp of Cork goalkeeper Patrick Collins.
While Kilkenny also got scores through Pádraig Walsh, David Blanchfield and Alan Murphy as the visitors were in command at half time.
It took just ten seconds of the second half for Kilkenny to score upon the resumption through Alan Murphy.
Cork kept in touch through points from Robbie O'Flynn, Conor Lehane and Shane Kingston to reduce the gap down to two points at 0-18 to the 2-14 after 42 minutes.
Rebel momentum appeared to be growing. Further scores by Connolly and Tim O’Mahony then saw Cork back on level terms.
The tension was growing, as Murphy slotted over a free on 48 minutes to edge Kilkenny back in front.
A cracking score from Eoin Cody silenced the home crowd , as Kilkenny led 2-16 to Cork’s 0-20 after 53 minutes.
The sides were level heading into the final ten minutes after a Cork point through Horgan, before a mammoth free by Murphy nudged Kilkenny back in front.
That was before Cork netted for a goal through Fitzgibbon who maintained his composure to finish and put the hosts two points ahead with 67 minutes played after a trademark run.
Cork were in the groove now and Fitzgibbon pointed, along with another Lehane effort, as the Rebels secured the victory.
Cork: Patrick Collins; Niall O’Leary, Daire O’Leary, Damien Cahalane; Robert Downey, Mark Coleman, Ciarán Joyce(0-1); Darragh Fitzgibbon (1-3), Ger Millerick; Robbie O’Flynn(0-1), Shane Barrett(0-1), Conor Lehane(0-6, 0-3); Alan Connolly(0-4), Patrick Horgan (0-9, 0-8 frees), Shane Kingston (0-1).
Subs: Tim O’Mahony (0-1 for D O’Leary (HT), Seamus Harnedy for Barrett (45), Conor Cahalane for Kingston (52), Jack O’Connor for Horgan (58), Sam Quirke for Mellerick (69).
Kilkenny: Eoin Murphy; Mikey Butler, Huw Lawlor, Conor Delaney; Michael Carey, Paddy Deegan, David Blachfield(0-1) ; Cian Kenny(0-1), Cillian Buckley(0-1); Walter Walsh, Padraig Walsh(0-2), Eoin Cody (0-3); Billy Ryan(0-4), Martin Keoghan (2-0), Alan Murphy (0-6).
Subs: James Maher for Kenny (46), John Donnolly for Keoghan (60), Richie Reid for Buckley (63).
Referee: Sean Stack (Dublin)