LIMERICK maintained their 100pc league record as they carried too much hurling know-how for a plucky Carlow side at Dr Cullen Park yesterday.
The Limerick corner-forward Sean Tobin had a field day, hitting 2-4 as the Treaty County recorded their fifth successive win to remain very much on course for a return to the top flight.
Donal O'Grady's side showed greater speed, understanding and finishing power than Carlow, who never gave up the ghost but made too many fundamental mistakes.
Carlow missed four scoreable frees in that opening half, which seemed to affect their confidence as Limerick took late control to move ahead from an 0-8 to 0-6 advantage in the 23rd minute to 1-14 to 0-7 at half-time.
The goal came on 34 minutes when Tobin cruised through the home defence to shoot to the net.
In the second half Carlow remained competitive, but after a strong period of early pressure, which only produced a pointed free from Ruairi Dunbar, the visitors struck for another goal on 44 minutes when Tobin availed of some slack defending to bag his second.
Limerick scored a third goal when Richie McCarthy was provider for full-forward Paudie McNamara on 50 minutes as the league leaders assumed a 3-15 to 0-11 lead.
Carlow continued to give of their best and had their reward when midfielder Eoin Nolan shot a goal in the late stages.
But overall there was a clear difference in hurling skill between these sides -- Limerick's first touch and ability to pick out well-placed colleagues was superior to Carlow, who tended to over-elaborate in possession.
In all, eight Limerick players scored, with Donie Ryan making a camoe appearance for the final 13 minutes and recording two points from play.
Man of the Match: Sean Tobin (Limerick)
Scorers -- Limerick: S Tobin 2-4 (0-2f), P McNamara 1-2, R McCarthy 0-5 (3f, 1 '65'), B Hourigan, D Ryan 0-2 each, D O'Grady, J Ryan, N Maher 0-1 each. Carlow: R Dunbar 0-5 (4f), E Nolan 1-1, M Brennan 0-4, E Byrne, D Kavanagh (2f) 0-2 each, J Kavanagh 0-1.
Limerick -- T Flynn 7; D Reale 7, G O'Mahoney 7, T Condon 7; S Hickey 7, B Geary 8, W McNamara 7; D O'Grady 8, M O'Riordan 7; B Hourigan 7, R McCarthy 8, J Ryan 6; S Tobin 9, P McNamara 8, T O'Brien 6. Subs: D Moloney 6 for Reale (38), D Ryan 7 for J Ryan (57), N Moran 7 for O'Grady (65), S Walsh 7 for Hickey (65), S Lucey 7 for Condon (68).
Carlow -- K Kehoe 7; A Corcoran 6, S Kavanagh 8, J O'Hara 5; D English 5, D Kavanagh 6, R Coady 5; E Nolan 7, B Doyle 6; P Kehoe 5, E Byrne 5, K Kavanagh 5; A Gaule 5, M Brennan 7, R Dunbar 6. Subs: A McDonald 6 for Gaule (h-t), D Shaw 6 for Kehoe, E Kane 5 for O'Hara (47), J Doyle 6 for Byrne (57), A Brennan 6 for English.
Ref -- T Carroll (Offaly).