The Déise advanced to a meeting with Cork or Clare on July 22 as they inflicted a massive 23-point hammering on hapless Limerick.
The Shannonsiders managed just one point from play during the game, their first score from midfielder Nicky Quaid after two minutes, and Waterford ran riot thereafter.
It was all too easy for Waterford, winners of this competition two years ago, as they established a 2-4 to 0-7 lead against last year’s beaten All-Ireland finalists before turning on the style after half-time.
Waterford’s shooting was impressive with just three wides from Brendan Hannon placed balls while Limerick racked up 13 wides during a wretched outing.
Unmarked Patrick Hurney began the rout with a ninth minute goal at the Town End and when Kearney netted the first of his treble after 20 minutes, the writing was on the wall for Limerick.
Kearney’s goal, a well-taken effort from Liam Lawlor’s offload, handed Waterford a 2-6 to 0-2 advantage before Tommy O’Brien ended a 21-minute barren spell for Limerick with a free six minutes before half-time.
Limerick goalkeeper Barry Hennessy had denied Hurney a second goal with a fine first half save but the Kilmallock netminder lost his bearings less than a minute after the restart as the Treaty men shipped a third goal.
Hennessy failed to deal adequately with Brendan Hannon’s lengthy free and Kearney had a simple task to finish.
Ballyduff star Kearney completed his hat-trick midway through the second half after taking a pass from the lively Hurney before Pa’s brother Jamie Kearney got in on the act, scoring Waterford’s fifth goal in the 51st minute.
Scorers for Waterford: P Kearney 3-1, B Hannon 0-6f, P Hurney 1-2, J Kearney 1-1, D Murphy 0-3, P Fitzgerald & L Lawlor 0-1 each.
Scorers for Limerick: T O’Brien 0-4 (2f, 165), N Quaid, M Keane & T Quaid (f) 0-1 each.
LIMERICK: B Hennessy; A Hennessy, B Kelliher, G O’Leary; D Moloney, S O’Neill, P O’Brien; N Quaid, A Brennan; P Harty, P O’Reilly, T O’Brien; T Ryan, D O’Neill, T Quaid. Subs: L O’Dwyer for P O’Brien, M Keane for Ryan, E O’Leary for O’Reilly, all ht; P Cremin for Moloney, 36; J Quane for T Quaid, 54.
WATERFORD: I O’Regan; B Wall, J O’Leary, K Flynn; J Coffey, S Kearney, W Henley; P Fitzgerald, D Murphy; P Hurney, D Howard, J Kearney; B Hannon, L Lawlor, P Kearney. Subs: D Hickey for Howard, 50; P Molumphy for Wall, 54; S Hannon for Fitzgerald, 56; M Whelan for Hurney, 58; R Hennessy for Henley, 59.
Referee: S McMahon (Clare).