In a Munster final day like no other Limerick fought off a stiff Waterford challenge in Thurles to claim their 21st Munster title.

In a novel Munster SHC final before an empty Semple Stadium, as Limerick and Waterford contested provincial showdown for just the fourth time in history and the second time since 1934, the regaining champions ran out four-point winners - 0-25 to 0-21

Limerick had led 0-14 to 0-11 at half-time in what was a cagey game under lights which saw both sides draw level on five separate occasions.

An impressive 12 point return from Waterford's Stephen Bennett - three from play - wasn’t enough to see off a determined but lacklustre Limerick side in what was their 48th Munster final appearance.

Limerick - in search of back-to-back to Munster SHC final wins for the first time since 1981- started the stronger of the two sides.

But having surprisingly taken out Cork in the semi-final, Liam Cahill's side certainly didn’t take a liking to being named as rank underdogs going into this provincial decider.

Early scores from Graeme Mulchay, in his fourth Munster final start, and Peter Casey gave John Kiely’s men the early advantage, but a superb Dessie Hutchinson sideline and a Jake Dillon point quickly levelled terms.

Limerick captain Declan  Hannon - making his 40th championship appearance and lining out in his fourth Munster final, his second as captain - led from the centre back position as the Treaty men fought off a physical and gritty Waterford side.

Lynch, Aaron Gillane and Diarmaid Byrnes further pointed for a 0-6 to 0-3 Limerick lead with 12 minutes on the clock.

Wateford responded well and scores from Glesson and Bennett kept Limerick on their toes.

Gillane responded immediately with a free at the other end - his third point of the game - before Stephen Bennett eased past Barry Nash to narrow the deficit to one point again.

Bennett levelled terms just before the first time water break - 0-7 a piece in Thurles.

It was Peter Casey who scored the first two scores after the short break as Waterford began to falter in the second quarter.

The Deise managed just one point from play during the 15 minute period - a well taken Kieran Bennett effort from the sideline.

But three frees after the water break from the younger of the Bennett brothers, Stephen, kept The Deise within touching distance as further scores from Gillane, Lynch and Byrnes gave the Shannonsiders a three-point advantage at half-time – 0-14 to 0-11 in favour of Limerick.

But two different scorers for Waterford – Stephen Bennett (2) and Jack Prendergast – had drawn Cahill’s side level by the 40th minute.

Limerick’s first score of the second half came three minutes later when Gillane slotted over a free to put the Treaty men a point up, yet again

Hayes and Byrnes played vital roles in keeping Waterford scoreless for 10 minutes but a free from Bennett and one from play from the Ballysaggart man gave Waterford for the first time - albeit for roughly 30 seconds.

Limerick got back in their stride after the stride after the second half water break as Hegarty pointed his first of two before substitute Flanagan pointed to make it a two-point game - the latter slotting over his first touch of the game.

Mulcahy continued to impress in the second half and when the Kilmallock star slotted two points without response to put four between the sides, Limerick nerves began to settle.

Substitute Adrian Breen saw out the scoring to see Limerick progress to the All-Ireland semi-final on Sunday 29 November against either Galway, Clare or Tipperary.

Limerick have now played 11 games this season and enter the All-Ireland semi-final with a 100% record in 2020.

The Déise, however, will certainly have re-established themselves as All-Ireland contenders and will face either Clare or Tipperary next week.

Limerick: Nickie Quaid; Sean Finn, Dan Morrissey, Barry Nash; Diarmuid Byrnes (0-2, 1 free, 1 ’65), Declan Hannon (c), Kyle Hayes; Cian Lynch (0-2), William O’Donoghue; Gearoid Hegarty (0-2), David Reidy, Tom Morrissey; Graeme Mulcahy (0-4), Aaron Gillane (0-10, 8 frees), Peter Casey (0-3)

Subs: David Dempsey for Tom Morrissey (53), Seamus Flanagan (0-1) for Peter Casey (53), Darragh O’Donovan for David Reidy (56), Adrian Breen (0-1) for Graeme Mulcahy (67)

Waterford: Stephen O’Keeffe; Shane Fives, Conor Prunty (c), Shane McNulty; Calum Lyons, Tadhg de Búrca, Kevin Moran; Jamie Barron, Jake Dillon (0-2); Jack Fagan, Kieran Bennett (0-1), Stephen Bennett (0-12, 8 frees, 1 '65) ; Dessie Hutchinson (0-1, 1 sideline), Austin Glesson (0-3), Jack Prendergast (0-1)

Subs: Neil Montgomery for Jack Fagan (47), Mikey Kearney for Kieran Bennett (59), Ian Kenny for Shane Fives (61), Darragh Lyons for Jake Dillon (63), Patrick Curran (0-1) for Austin Glesson (65)

Referee:  Colm Lyons (Cork)