Trailing for most of the second-half, Maurice Horan’s side finally drew level six minutes to go with an Ian Ryan free before the skipper added another to settle the nerves of supporters in the crowd of 1,004.
Carlow might have upset the odds had they built on a burst of scores when they used Brendan Murphy as a ball-winner rather than a target at the edge of the square where he could never break free of Johnny McCarthy.
But even when still led by two at the three-quarter mark, they were already in containment mode and it proved fatal against opponents whose self-belief must be rock solid after winning two ties by two points and the other two by just one. Although Carlow struck twice inside a minute, patient buildup had the hosts leading coming up to the break despite playing into a stiff breeze.
However, Darragh Foley’s free, Benny Kavanagh and Kieran Nolan left the Barrowsiders leading 0-7 to 0-5 at half-time. The margin remained the same after two exchanges before Limerick took control coming into the final quarter in which Ryan sent over three frees.
Scorers for Limerick: I Ryan 0-7fs, E O’Connor, T Lee, B Scanlon (45) 0-1 each.
Scorers for Carlow: D Foley 0-3fs, M Doyle 0-2, Brian Murphy (f), W Minchin, B Kavanagh, K Nolan 0-1 each.
LIMERICK: B Scanlon; C Coady, J McCarthy, M O’Riordan; S Lavin, P Browne, P Ranahan; T Lee, D Treacy; J O’ Meara, J Riordan, S O’Carroll; G Collins, E O’Connor, I Ryan.
Subs: S Buckley for O’Carroll (ht), I Corbett for Treacy (48), D O’Connor for Collins (60), L O’Dwyer for Coady (67).
CARLOW: T O’Reilly; C Lawler, S Mernagh, B Kavanagh; K Nolan, S Redmond, M Doyle; D Foley, Brendan Murphy; R Walker, P Reid, E Ruth; Brian Murphy, J Murphy, W Minchin.
Subs: S Gannon for Minchin (57), A Kelly for Reid (64), K Jackson for J Murphy (64).
Referee: M Condon (Waterford).