THE most obvious indicator of form here is how either protagonist fared against Tipperary in the match they lost in this year's Munster SHC. Cork had them up against a wall in Páirc Uí Chaoimh but lost out perhaps to Tipp's superior experience.
Waterford too had their moments in the Munster final but found the full scope of the Premier's attacking riches too widespread to manage.
Doubtless, Kilkenny's loss in the Leinster final will have both of these teams thinking a couple of moves ahead too. With Galway -- rather than the Cats -- likely to be All-Ireland semi-final opponents, it is for both Jimmy Barry-Murphy and Michael Ryan an ideal opportunity to hatch a hugely progressive season in the first year of their respective reigns.
Cork's iconic manager has continued his habit of tweaking his team from match to match. The most notable inclusion tomorrow sees the old dog for the long road, Seán Óg Ó hAilpín, return to his customary number seven jersey in a strong-looking half-back line which also includes Eoin Cadogan and Tom Kenny.
David Kearney starts in midfield for the first time while Stephen McDonnell makes his championship bow at full-back after a promising league campaign.
As ever with Cork, it will be more about how their forwards perform than any other sector of the team when it comes to whether they progress.
Luke O'Farrell was in inspired form at full-forward last time out, and is a natural poacher who gives Cork that much-needed goalscoring edge.
With Pa Horgan and Paudie O'Sullivan flanking him inside, there should be plenty of scope for the Rebels to pick out holes and go for Waterford's jugular.
They displayed some fine vision and forward co-ordination against Wexford last time out, hatching scores with set plays off sidelines and puck-outs and their youth and fitness will dictate that they finish as strongly as any team left in the championship.
Ryan has made just one change to his Waterford team, with Thomas Ryan coming into the full-forward line in place of Gavin O'Brien in an attack which is still as reliant as ever on Messrs Mullane and Prendergast to score and win ball.
Eoin Kelly resides on the bench again and can have the sort of impact the Déise will need to change the pace of the game in their favour.
And if the likes of Maurice Shanahan and Pauric Mahony can click in unison with their more experienced attacking colleagues, Waterford can continue their record of All-Ireland semi-final appearances over the latter part of the last decade and into this one.
But there are too many variables in the Waterford line-up and Cork are young and bold enough to ensure a safe passage into the last four.
Cork: A Nash; S O'Neill, S McDonnell, B Murphy; T Kenny, E Cadogan, S Óg Ó hAilpín; D Kearney, P Cronin; C Lehane, C McCarthy, N McCarthy; P O'Sullivan, L O'Farrell, P Horgan.
Waterford: S O'Keeffe; N Connors, L Lawlor, S Daniels; T Browne, M Walsh, K Moran; S Molumphy, Phil Mahony; Pauric Mahony, S Prendergast, M Shanahan; J Mullane, S Walsh, T Ryan.
ODDS: Cork 4/7, Draw 9/1, Waterford 7/4