Aided by a strong breeze and a vociferous home crowd, Kerry hurled for much of this game as if their lives depended on it.
They were more than a match for the fancied Limerick side in the first half and they went in at the break with a four point lead, 0-11 to 0-7.
Liam Boyle, Shane Brick and Michael Slattery all contributed three points each in the first half, Slattery slotting over three frees.
Limerick can use the breeze as an excuse for not having more than seven scores on the board at the break, but Kerry deserve much credit for keeping the Limerick forwards at bay, including Andrew O¹Shaughnessy who only managed one point off Ian Brick.
The four point lead was always going to be difficult for Kerry to defend but after two early Limerick points in the second half, Shane Brick smashed home a wonderful goal to leave the score at 1-11 to 0-9.
Conor Fitzgerald, from frees, and Niall Moran did much to bring Limerick back into the game but with just 14 minutes remaining the sides were still level, 1-12 to 0-15.
With Niall Moran on top form, and Brian Begley getting more involved, Limerick finally took the lead and managed to add late points to give them a seven point win and passage to the next round.
J Healy, T Cronin, A Healy, I Brick, C Harris, C Flaherty, A Cronin, P Cronin, J McCarthy, L Boyle (0-4), B Brick (0-1), P O'Connell (0-1), JM Dooley, S Brick (1-5), M Slattery (0-3, 3f).
Subs: K O'Sullivan for J McCarthy, G O'Brien for P O'Connell, D Young for JM Dooley.
Limerick T Houlihan, D Reale, TJ Ryan, S McDonagh, P O'Dwyer, B Geary, M Foley, P Lawlor (0-1), E Foley, N Moran (0-6), O Moran (0-1), C Fitzgerald (0-10, 7f) A O'Shaughnessy (0-1), B Begley (0-3), D Sheehan (0-2).
Subs: C Smith for P O'Dwyer, E Mulcahy for S McDonagh, J Meskell for P Lawlor.
Booked: B Geary (Limerick), J McCarthy (Kerry)
Referee: S McMahon (Clare)