Showing far more hunger than Carlow, the hosts survived a few early scares before taking over control in the second quarter.
Limerick moved into an early lead but were lucky to see goal chances from Con Murphy and Derek Hayden blaze wide before Carlow’s fourth point brought the sides level.
However, the hosts took over after that and rattled off the scores for a lead of 0-9 to 0-4 at the break.
Murphy hit back immediately on the restart but Limerick’s greater work rate smothered any chance of a revival even though Seán Gannon bagged the game’s only goal in the closing minutes.
Scorers for Limerick: I Ryan 0-6(3f), G Collins 0-4, D Treacy 0-3, S Lavin 0-2, B Scanlon 0-1 (f), J Riordan 0-1, P Ranahan 0-1, G O’Connell 0-1.
Scorers for Carlow: C Murphy 0-4, S Gannon 1-0, K Jackson 0-2, B Murphy 0-1, B Murphy 0-1 (f), JJ Smith 0-1 (f).
LIMERICK: B Scanlon; S Lavin, S Lucey, L O’Dwyer; J Riordan, P Browne, P Ranahan; P Kinnerk, D Treacy; J O’Meara, E O’Connor, E Barry; G Collins, S O’Carroll, I Ryan.
Subs: S Buckley for S O’Carroll (45 mins), B Fitzpatrick for P Browne (55), J Donovan for J O’Meara (59), S Nix for S Lucey (61), G O’Connell for E O’Connor (64 mins).
CARLOW: A O’Brien; BJ Molloy, C Lawlor, P Murphy; B Lambe, Nolan, B Kavanagh; Brendan Murphy, K Jackson; Brian Murphy, C Murphy, S Gannon; C Walshe, D Haydon, D Foley.
Subs: JJ Smith for D Foley (ht), Tony Bolger for C Lawlor (43), P Reid for D Hayden (52), E Finnegan for C Walshe (59), J Kennedy for Brian Murphy (64).
Referee: D Corcoran (Mayo).