Waterford stepped on the gas after the restart to ease into the league final with a 3-23 to 1-18 victory over Limerick in the curtain-raiser at Thurles.
While the first half was closely-contested, the second was a procession as goals from Shane Bennett (penalty), Patrick Curran and substitute Tom Devine helped the holders progress to the decider.
The match was effectively decided during the third quarter when the winners registered 1-6 against three pointed Limerick frees to assume a commanding five-point lead, 1-17 to 0-15.
TJ Ryan's charges held the narrowest of advantages at the end of a cagey first half that saw the sides level on no fewer than nine occasions, 0-12 to 0-11.
James Ryan (from distance) and Colin Dunford (from the tightest of angles) traded scores inside the opening two minutes before the latter's second point edged the holders ahead for the first time, only for Barry Nash to equalise on four minutes.
Diarmuid Byrnes and Tom Morrissey restored the Shannonsiders' lead after Tadhg de Burca had pointed for the holders, who in turn hit back through Patrick Curran (free). But Morrissey's second had the underdogs ahead on ten minutes, 0-5 to 0-4.
Curran (free) and Shane Bennett - with a beauty - had scores replied to by Ronan Lynch (free) before an exchange between Curran (free) and Paul Browne drew the teams level for the seventh time at the midway stage in the first half, 0-7 each.
Austin Gleeson and Ronan Lynch swapped frees as proceedings remained deadlocked going into the last ten minutes of the opening period. Lynch (free) and Morrissey added Limerick points as two separated the teams for the first time but Na Deise were level again by the 30th minute thanks to Curran (free) and Gleeson.
Lynch's fourth free and Byrnes' effort from play had the gap back out to two and Curran's free closed the first-half scoring.
Lynch (free) and Curran ('65') supplied the first two scores upon the restart, with Nickie Quaid denying Gleeson with a super diving save in between. Quickfire points from Kevin Moran, Darragh Fives and Curran had the winners ahead by two after 40 minutes, 0-15 to 0-13.
Bennett won and emphatically despatched a 43rd-minute penalty to the top right corner of the town end goals to leave five points between the teams. Another Lynch free was cancelled out by a Curran '65' before substitute Tom Condon and Barry Nash reduced the arrears to three. But Curran's free made it 1-18 to 0-17 with 13 minutes left, with Brian O'Halloran adding another Na Deise point instantly.
After Bennett hit the next Waterford point, Curran fired their second major on the stroke of the hour following a Michael Walsh pass. Substitute Devine floated one over to leave ten between the teams, 2-21 to 0-17.
Bennett and Gleeson piled on the pain and substitute Shane Dowling pointed a Limerick free and then blasted one to the roof of the net after Curran was sent off for a second yellow card offence. But, aptly, Waterford had the last say as Devine poked home their third major deep into added time.
Waterford - S O'Keeffe; S Fives, B Coughlan, N Connors; D Fives (0-1), T de Burca (0-1), Philip Mahony; A Gleeson (0-3, 1f), J Barron; M Walsh, K Moran (0-1), C Dunford (0-2); J Dillon, S Bennett (1-3, 1-0pen), P Curran (1-10, 0-7f, 0-2'65). Subs: B O'Halloran (0-1) for C Dunford, S McNulty for S Fives, T Devine (1-1) for J Dillon, Pauric Mahony for M Walsh, S O'Sullivan (Ballygunner) for K Moran.
Limerick - N Quaid; S O'Brien, R McCarthy, R English; P O'Brien, D Byrnes (0-2), R Lynch (0-7f); G O'Mahony, P Browne (0-1); G Hegarty, J Ryan (0-1), C Lynch; B Nash (0-2), K Downes, T Morrissey (0-3). Subs: J Fitzgibbon for G Hegarty, T Condon (0-1) for S O'Brien, D Hannon for K Downes, S Dowling (1-1f) for P O'Brien, G Mulcahy for R Lynch.
Referee - B Kelly.