Hurler of the Year Richie Hogan led the way with nine points for the Cats — he was one of 11 scorers for the men in Black and Amber — as they controlled the game last night.
Helped by Kevin Kelly and Ger Aylward, the Cats led by six at half-time (0-15 to 0-9).
They took a major step towards victory when sub Matthew Ruth hit the net with 41 minutes on the clock. Mark Kelly bagged a second goal soon after, before Ruth netted again with 17 minutes left in the game.
Limerick were outgunned in the second half — Shane Dowling, Declan Hannon and Donal O’Grady led the charge with two points each in the second half — but with Kilkenny emptying their bench the fresher home side eased to the finish line. A feature of the closing stages was the return to inter-county action of Michael Rice, who nabbed a point late on.
Richie Hogan (0-9, 0-5 frees); Matthew Ruth (2-1); Mark Kelly (1-1); Ger Aylward, Lester Ryan (0-3 each); Kevin Kelly, Conor Fogarty (0-2 each); Cillian Buckley, John Power, Walter Walsh, Michael Rice (0-1 each).
Shane Dowling (0-5, 0-3 frees); Donal O’Grady (0-3); Kevin Downes, Declan Hannon (0-2 each); Paudie O’Brien, David Reidy, John Fitzgibbon, Tom Condon (0-1 each).
Eoin Murphy, Paul Murphy, Joey Holden, Jackie Tyrrell, Padraig Walsh, Kieran Joyce, Cillian Buckley, Conor Fogarty, Lester Ryan, Walter Walsh, Richie Hogan, John Power, Ger Aylward, Kevin Kelly, Mark Kelly. Subs: Richie Reid, Shane Prendergast, Michael Walsh, Robert Lennon, Brian Kennedy, Joe Lyng, Conor O’Shea, Matthew Ruth, Michael Rice.
Aaron Murphy, Stephen Walsh, Richie McCarthy, Cathal King, Wayne McNamara, Gavin O’Mahoney, Dan Morrissey, John Fitzgibbon, Paudie O’Brien, Donal O’Grady, Declan Hannon, David Reidy, Kevin Downes, Shane Dowling, Adrian Breen. Subs: Tom Condon, Seanie O’Brien, Tom Morrissey, Cian Lynch.
James Owens (Wexford).