Cork had two players shown black cards in a hugely entertaining contest as Limerick gave the four-in-a row champions a rare fright.
Cork led 3-4 to 0-8 at the interval in front of 692 patrons, with their third goal coming just on half-time when a long ball by Kevin Davis bounced past the Limerick goalkeeper James O'Meara. That looked to have put them in a position of some comfort.
Limerick had the opening point but Darragh Murphy got on the end of a long ball out of defence to score Cork's first goal after four minutes and put them in the ascendancy.
Six minutes later the Limerick defence was caught napping again and this time Sean O'Donoughue fired to the net.
To their credit, Limerick never gave up and clawed their way back through points by Kevin Moran and Evan Quinlan from frees and play, but Cork looked in control with their five-point interval lead.
There was a scare for them, however, as Limerick drew level after 39 minutes thanks to a well-taken goal by Cian Sheehan which made it 3-6 to 1-12 as a shock result potentially looked on the cards.
Ryan Harkin's goal after 44 minutes, however, restored Cork's lead and Cillian McIntrye wrapped it up with a fifth goal to finally see off the plucky challenge of the underdogs.
Limerick had a deserved last-minute consolation goal by Jason Mullins to close the gap.
Scorers - Cork: R Harkin 1-2, K Davis 1-1, D Murphy, S O'Donoughue, C McIntrye 1-0 each, C Vaughan 0-3, P Kelleher, B O'Driscoll 0-1 each. Limerick: C Sheehan 1-2, J Mullins 1-1, K Moore, E Quinlan 0-4 each, C Smith 0-1.
Cork - M Martin; D Quinn, J Davis, S Cronin; T O'Rourke, S White, K Crowley; D Murphy, A Murphy; A O'Donovan, C Horgan, R Harkin; C Vaughan, P Kelleher, S O'Donoughue. Subs: C Kiely for Crowley (BC, 9), K Davis for Murphy (16), D O'Callaghan for D Murphy (37), B O'Driscoll for Horgan (40), M McSweeney for Quinn (BC, 51), C McIntrye for Vaughan (55),
Limerick - J O'Meara; S Cusack, S Cahill, S Barrett; C Smith, C Fahy, T McCarthy; W O'Donoughue, G Hegarty; E Dillon, C Sheehan, K Ryan; K Moore, J English, J Mullins. Subs: G Reidy for Quinal (54), D Daly for Moore (56).
Ref - S Joy (Kerry)