Tearing into the game right from the whistle, they tore Waterford’s defence apart with fast direct attacks from every angle.
Yet midway through the second half, just a goal separated the sides, as a goal out of the blue just before the break and a period of contemplation during it roused the Déise spirit and almost sparked a comeback of mythical proportions.
It didn’t work out in the end though as chances were wasted before sub Kevin O’Brien struck for the home side’s third goal to put the miracle just beyond the bounds of possibility.
Tom Morrissey’s goal, after Seán Tobin had been blocked, capped three opening minutes of Limerick bliss and Waterford hopes of steadying the ship were rocked when David Reidy whacked home the second.
A run of seven points without reply had the opposition floundering coming up to the break but, just as the knockout blow was about to land, Austin Gleeson intercepted a move from defence to blast home a goal. Follow-up points narrowed the half-time deficit to 2-12 to 1-7.
The momentum continued through the break and, with Maurice Shanahan’s frees and two Jake Dillon strikes from play, Limerick were on the ropes facing into the closing minutes. Then O’Brien struck after his first effort had been blocked to give them enough daylight and send the attendance of 1,069 home happy.
D Reidy 1-5 (0-2f), T Morrissey, K O’Brien 1-1 each, S Tobin 0-3, T O’Brien, D Byrnes (1f), G O’Mahony 0-2 each.
M Shanahan 0-7 (5f), P Curran 0-3, A Gleeson 1-0, S Bennett, J Dillon 0-2 each, J Barron, S McNulty, P Hogan 0-1 each.
N Quaid; T Condon, R McCarthy, S O’Brien; P O’Brien, D Byrnes, W McNamara; J Fitzgibbon, P Browne; B Nash, G O’Mahony, T Morrissey; T O’Brien, D Reidy, S Tobin.
B Hennessy for N Quaid (inj, 26m), Darragh O’Donovan for John Fitzgibbon (inj, ht), G Mulcahy for D Reidy (50m), K O’Brien for T O’Brien (50m), M Reidy for T Condon (51m), T Morrissey not replaced (inj, 70m).
I O’Regan; P Prendergast, S Fives, N Connors; S Roche, S McNulty, C Gleeson; J Barron, K Moran; C Dunford, S Bennett, J Dillon; A Gleeson, M Shanahan, P Curran.
G O’Brien for S Roche (22m), T Devine for J Barron (46m), S O’Sullivan for K Moran (46m), P Hogan for C Dunford (50m), B Coughlan for S Bennett (inj, 70m).
P Kelly (Tipperary).