Waterford 2-13 Limerick 1-10
WATERFORD proved much too crafty for Limerick at the Gaelic Grounds, though at one stage in the second half the Shannonsiders had narrowed the gap to a goal.
Two first-half goals, the first after 13 minutes, and the second with the last action of the half, were the real difference between the sides.
The first goal was superbly taken by full-forward Mitchell Casey who took a great catch from a cross by John Coffey before blasting his shot past James Brouder from close range.
Goal number two was even more brilliantly executed, with Waterford goalkeeper Paul Houlihan starting a move which involved six players before David Power applied the finishing touch.
By half-time, Waterford led 2-4 to 0-4 and they went further ahead when Ed Hogan had the opening point on the resumption.
That sparked a Limerick revival. Substitute Mark O'Sullivan scored a goal to raise their hopes of a comeback, but Waterford retained possession very efficiently in the final quarter and they cruised to a comfortable victory.
Waterford's defence was superb, especially in the first half, during which Limerick's only point from play came from wing-back John Bourke. Full-back Declan Prendergast, Richie Hennessy and Ger Dunphy excelled, while Michael O'Gorman and Patrick Lynch dominated midfield.
Ronan Cahill was the perfect middle man in the half-forward line and he was flanked by the two Powers, Paul and David, who also shone all through. Limerick were a big disappointment, with only John Bourke, Stephen Nix and Derry O'Connor, catching the eye.
SCORERS -- Waterford: D Power 1-2, M Casey 1-1, G Crotty 0-3, P Power, E Hogan (1f), 0-2 each, R Hennessy, R Cahill, J Coffey 0-1 each. Limerick: K O'Callaghan 0-5 (4f), D O'Connor 0-3, M O'Sullivan 1-0, J Bourke 0-2.
WATERFORD -- P Houlihan; J Walsh, D Prendergast, G Dunphy; A O'Loughlin, E Rockett, R Hennessy; M O'Gorman, P Lynch; P Power, R Cahill, D Power; E Hogan, M Casey, J Coffer. Subs: G Crotty for O'Gorman (h-t), S Lannon for O'Loughlin (40), K Sheehan for Lynch (52), D Wall for P Power (59), K Buckley for Casey (59).
LIMERICK -- J Brouder; M O'Keeffe, S Browne, A O'Sullivan; P Sheahan, S Nix, J Bourke; B O'Brien, T Cahill; K O'Connor, M Quilligan, T McMahon; S Cronin, K O'Callaghan, D O'Connor. Subs: M O'Sullivan for Cronin (22), B O'Sullivan for McMahon (25), G Noonan for Cahill (39).
REF -- J Lynch (Kerry)