it came thanks to a devastating 10-minute spell just after half-time, during which they scored six points without reply, gave
After a hesitant opening half, during which a very committed Waterford side led 1-6 to 0-7, Cork stepped up a couple of gears in the second-half to set up a final meeting against the winners of tonight's semi-final between Limerick and Tipperary.
The two evenly-matched sides were level twice in the opening 10 minutes, before a fired-up Waterford side took a two-point lead, courtesy of the excellent free-taking of John Wall.
Waterford had Cork in trouble in lots of areas throughout the field with their pace and passion, and after the sides were level for a third time, the visitors rocked the home side with a splendid goal.
It came following a long delivery deep into the Cork defence where Paul Kearney was fouled. A six-man wall on the goal-line looked capable of dealing with John Wall's effort, but he drilled the sliotar straight and true with a powerful strike.
Wall was causing Cork endless problems up the right-hand side and the selectors moved to remedy the situation by switching centre-back Cian O'Connor over and bringing John Gardiner to centre-back.
However, the Cork forwards struggled alarmingly for scores and only Fergus Murphy looked capable of prising open a rock-solid Waterford defence in which Willie Kiely and Aidan Kearney were very impressive.
Only for the excellent free-taking of Kieran Murphy (Sars), Cork would have been in all sorts of trouble. His accuracy ensured they were not too far adrift at half-time as Waterford went in leading 1-6 to 0-7, Murphy scoring four of his side's points from placed balls.
There was a lot more urgency in Cork's play on the changeover, with Fergal Murphy, in particular, startling at left half-forward, playing far more direct hurling, Cork hit over six points in a row in the space of as many minutes and it was Waterford's turn to struggle.
The switches made by the Cork mentors, particularly in rearranging their half-back line, which now read Kevin Hartnett, John Gardiner and Cian O'Connor, came off.
Waterford's second-half collapse was difficult to understand, given how well they had played in the first-half, but all credit to the Cork defence.
Cork continued to pour forward at every opportunity and only the thickness of the crossbar denied Brendan Barry a goal as his shot cannoned back into play, with the Waterford 'keeper stranded on the ground.
After Cork's fierce barrage of scores, Waterford finally managed a point, their first for 13 minutes, but they were in need of a goal if they were to have any chance of completing a hat-trick of victories over Cork.
After a sustained period of pressure, that chance finally came, when substitute Shane Walsh won a penalty, but John Wall's effort was brilliantly-saved by Cian O'Connor and with it went Waterford's last chance of pulling this game out of the fire.
From there to the finish, Cork remained firmly in control, and John Gardiner capped an excellent night's work with a great long-range point.
: Cork: Kieran Murphy (Sars) 0-7 (frees), M. Cussen, J. Gardiner 0-3 each, B. Barry, F. Murphy, M. Naughton, D. O'Riordan 0-1 each. Waterford: J. Wall 1-3 (1-1 frees), L. Lawlor 0-2, S. O'Sullivan, M. Walsh, W. Hutchinson 0-1 each.
: M. Coleman; J. O'Mahony, S. Murphy, K. Goggins; M. Prout, C. O'Connor, R. McGregor; J. Gardiner, K. Hartnett; M. Naughton, Kieran Murphy (Sars), Kieran Murphy (Erin's Own); B. Barry, M. Cussen, F. Murphy. Subs: D. O'Riordan for McGregor, D. Dorris for Prout, J. Bowles for Barry.
: I. O'Regan; D. Coffey, W. Kiely, A. Kearney; K. Stafford, G. Quinlan, M. Mears; W. Hutchinson, L. Lawlor; J. Wall, M. Walsh, S. O'Sullivan; P. Kearney, J. Hurney, P. O'Brien. Subs: L. O'Neill for P. Kearney, S. Walsh for J. Hurney, E. Walsh for W. Kiely.
: D. O'Driscoll (Limerick).