It was not always comfortable for the hosts, however, as they saw a five-point half-time lead reduced by the John Mullane-inspired visitors.
However Cork held out, to the delight of manager Paul McCarthy, who was unable to choose any of last year’s successful side.
“We made hard work it, but a lot of it was because that it was our first outing together. In previous years, a lot of the players would have played together but this bunch never had, apart from challenge matches.
“We’d be hoping they’d grow and develop and the win will give us confidence. We’ll be underdogs in the Munster final but that’ll suit us.”
Despite Mullane opening the scoring with a free in the third minute, it was the only time Limerick led and Cork soon took control, with Fionn O’Shea and James Kind on top at midfield. Paul Condon, Mark Sugrue and Conor Flanagan were among those to impress as Cork raced into a 0-7 to 0-1 lead. Limerick’s scoring drought was ended when Andy Murphy pointed — though a goal was on — but by half-time, Cork were 0-10 to 0-5 ahead.
Three points from Mullane after the restart were only answered by a Paul Condon free. Flanagan’s booming free in the 43rd minute made it 0-12 to 0-8 and while Mullane responded with a 45, Condon converted another excellent dead ball on 49, followed by points from Mark Sugrue and Flanagan to make it 0-15 to 0-9.
They wouldn’t score again, Mullane — Limerick’s only second-half scorer — with four in a row in the closing stages, but Cork had done enough.
Scorers for Cork: P Condon 0-6 (three frees), C Flanagan 0-4 (frees), S Hickey, M Sugrue (one free) 0-2 each, S Beston 0-1.
Scorers for Limerick: J Mullane 0-10 (five frees, one 45), J Mullins, A Murphy, P Nash 0-1 each.
CORK: P Kirby; J McLoughlin, S Murphy, M O’Shea; N McCarthy, J Daly, B Weathers; F O’Shea, J Kind; C Flanagan, B Coughlan, M Sugrue; S Beston, P Condon, S Hickey.
Subs: J Dineen for O’Shea (48), D Pyne for Coughlan (52), R Buckley for Daly (56), A O’Connor for Beston (58), C Brosnan for Kind (60).
LIMERICK: G Neville; K Brosnan, W Cronin, M Phelan; C Sheehan, P Mullins, T McCarthy; T Butler, C Madden; J Millins, P Nash, J Mullane; A Murphy, M Fitzgibbon, M O’Sullivan.
Subs: E O’Donnell for Murphy (half-time), B Hannigan for Brosnan (46), M O’Sullivan for Sheehan (50), M Geary for O’Sullivan (53), E O’Donoghue for Mullins (59).
Referee: D Grogan (Tipperary).