Davy Fitzgerald's Limerick IT side failed in their bid to make it through to next weekend's Waterford Crystal Cup final as Waterford triumphed in today's high-scoring semi-final in Dungarvan.
It was the students who took the early initiative at Fraher Field and they held a 0-5 to 0-2 lead after 10 minutes thanks to efforts from Galway duo Joe Canning and Cyril Donnellan.
However, the hosts came back strongly into contention with points from John Mullane and Shane Prendergast cutting the gap to the minimum, before Dan Shanahan hit the first goal of the game after a good pass from the very effective Shane Walsh.
Gradually the students became more unsettled with Canning missing three frees although he did reduce the gap to two points.
Eoin Kelly was a major threat to the visitors' chances and he succeeded in blasting a free to the net just as the interval approached.
Fitzgerald's side quickly cancelled out this effort thanks to a fine Joe Canning strike, yet it was Waterford turned around with a 2-5 to 1-6 advantage.
The second half saw continued good play from both sides but it was a second goal from Kelly, who produced a smart kicked finish before being replaced due to an elbow injury, which was the decisive score.
Substitute Paudie O'Brien notched an injury-time goal for Limerick IT but the Deise had done enough, by that stage, to confirm their place in next weekend's decider against Tipperary.
Meanwhile, 2007 All-Star Ken McGrath is expected to miss Waterford's entire National Hurling League campaign after being ordered to rest an ongoing groin injury.
The talented centre-back was told by surgeon Gerry McEntee last October that he would not require surgery to correct the problem but that he needed plenty of rest before returning to training with the Waterford panel this month.
Despite responding well to the rehabilitation programme, the Mount Sion clubman has been advised to remain on the sidelines for a further three-month period to avoid the injury being aggravated.
Waterford, the defending NHL champions, begin their league run at home to Wexford on February 10.
Waterford: C Hennessy; T Feeney, D Prendergast, E Murphy; W Hutchinson, B Phelan, J Kennedy; M Walsh, D Bennett (0-4); J Mullane (0-2), S Prendergast (0-1), E Kelly (2-3); S Walsh (0-1), D Shanahan (1-0), S Casey (0-1).
Subs used: P Kearney for Kelly.
Limerick IT: M Ryan; M Walsh, A Byrne, M O'Brien; W Hyland, S Maher, G O'Connell; J McInerney, J Clancy (0-1); N Healy, C Donnellan (0-3), S Herlihy (0-1); B Gaffney (0-1), J Canning (1-6), S Tobin.
Subs used: P O'Brien (1-0) for Tobin, I White for Herlihy, G O'Mahony (0-1) for McInerney.
Referee: Ambrose Heaney (Clare)