Playing a magnificent brand of football, they overwhelmed the visitors and, on the evidence of this performance, will be hard to beat in the semi-final against Laois on Saturday week.
In the 1980s, Cork produced a number of outstanding U21 teams which brought great honour at senior level, and this side is capable of doing likewise.
Coach Tony Leahy said he was delighted at winning the Munster title, but their aim is to capture the All-Ireland.
"I've always said they are a very special group of players, always willing to listen and learn. That was them at their best but we need to go on a win the All-Ireland after losing two semis in successive years.
"We loved the ball at great speed and the sign of a great team is when you respond so quickly after conceding a goal. We hit back almost immediately after they got their goal and in the end it became shooting practice for us.
"There is great potential in this bunch. We can only take one game at a time, but I would be very hopeful of reaching the final on the evidence of tonight's performance. It was the best so far this season."
While this was essentially a team performance, the displays of Chris Murphy, Michael Shields, Alan O'Connor, Fintan Gould, Roy Leahy and Daniel Goulding were magnificent, and with John Hayes to come back into the team for the semi-final, Cork have every chance of reaching their first final since 1994.
Waterford battled bravely but only David Hickey, Mark Fives, Sean Fleming and Patrick Hurney can look back on this final with any degree of satisfaction.
Waterford won the toss and elected to play against the wind in the opening half, and kicked two wides in the opening minute, suggesting they were going to be no pushover. However, in their first real attack, Daniel Goulding kicked the opening score.
Cork settled well after Waterford's initial burst and, playing excellent football, they carved open their opponents' defence at regular intervals.
Daniel Goulding showed his class, kicking two superb long-range points before a great passing movement, begun by Eoin Cadogan in his own defence, ended with Goulding kicking his third point after nine minutes.
Waterford were in danger of being swamped by Cork. Paul Kerrigan got on the score sheet before the visitors managed a score when Fives pointed a close in free in the 15th minute.
The dominance of Cork midfield duo Alan O'Connor and Paul Kelly ensured their forward colleagues saw plenty of ball and, with Daniel Goulding sparkling at right corner-forward, the scores began to flow.
Team captain Paul Kerrigan heaped further misery on Waterford when he found the net after a great move and only the butt of the upright denied Goulding another as Cork came forward in waves. It mattered little, however, as this highly skilled Cork side, continued to score at will and at the break, they were full value for their 1-10 to 0-2 lead. Waterford rang the changes for the second half, introducing four substitutes, and threatened to make a game of it when their best forward Sean Fleming fed Patrick Hurney for a goal in the 37th minute.
However, they were given little time to build on that as Cork hit back when the busy Roy Leahy coolly finished another great movement to the net. There was no way back for Waterford from this position and Cork, without ever having had to push themselves, began to score at will. Man-of-the-match Daniel Goulding had a goal to finish as Cork's top scorer. Brian Cotter saw his shot dip over the head of the Waterford keeper for another, and the visitors were well beaten long before the whistle.
Cork could afford to play all their substitutes with eight minutes to go and still stay in command, as Chris Murphy, Michael Shields and Eoin Cadogan coped with everything Waterford threw at them. The Munster champions now face into an All-Ireland semi-final against Laois on Saturday, April 22, but that will change should the O'Moore County beat Kerry in Sunday's NFL semi-final in Killarney.
: Cork: D. Goulding 1-5; P. Kerrigan 1-3 (0-1 free); R. Leahy 1-1; F. Gould 0-3; B. Cotter 1-0; P. O'Flynn 0-2. Waterford: P. Hurney 1-1; M. Fives 0-2 (0-1 free); S. Fleming, S. Lennon, G. O'Connor 0-1 each.
: K. O'Halloran; R. Carey, C. Murphy, S. O'Donoghue; D. Limrick, N. Shields, E. Cadogan; A. O'Connor, P. Kelly; F. Gould, B. Cotter, P. Kerrigan; D. Goulding, P. O'Flynn, R. Leahy.
: c. Callanan for Gould; N. Horgan for O'Donoghue; A. O'Sullivan for Kelly; J. Murphy for Kerrigan; D. Moynihan for O'Halloran.
: P. Walsh; K. McBride, T. O'Gorman, J. Seward; S. Lennon, D. Hickey, M. Whelan; M. Fives, S. Prendergast; K. O'Keeffe, P. Phelan, J. Cantwell; S. Fleming, P. Hurney, G. O'Connor.
: P. Lynch for Seaward; L. Lawlor for Prendergast; T. Gray for O'Keeffe; M. O'Gorman for Phelan.
: M. Meade (Limerick).