A couple of goals were shared in an entertaining game between two of the Premier Division's more talented teams in Tallaght.
Gavin Hoolohan’s strike was cancelled out by a pretty rare Graham Burke header as a notably makeshift Waterford defence crumbled a little in the final quarter.
Still, they held out for a point of more merit than that achieved by the hosts, who have won just six of their 16 games.
With Kevin Horgan injured, Tomer Chencinski started in goal and 16-year-old Gavin Bazuna was on the bench for Rovers.
The Blues bossed the early exchanges and should have gone in front after just eight minutes.
Ally Gilchrist, recalled due to Joey O’Brien’s suspension, got no power on a rushed defensive header; luckily for the Scot, Izzy Akinade managed no power in his strike from only a few yards out.
Two minutes later, Hoolohan’s run met unconvincing resistance from the hosts’ defence, yet his strike failed to trouble Chencinski, while Paul Keegan was off target after Akinade set him up on 19 minutes.
The Hoops threatened for the first time just afterwards, one wing-back. Sean Kavanagh, finding the other, Ethan Boyle, but nothing came of the latter’s back-post header.
Burke, drafted into the upcoming Ireland squad, was a peripheral figure in the first half but drove a shot goalwards on 25 minutes that was blocked.
However, Rovers remained second-best and went behind seven minutes shy of the break. Hoolohan found space around 20 yards out and his show seemed to deceive Chencinski.
Gary Shaw was replaced at the interval, with Dan Carr coming in, while Brandon Miele swapped for Gilchrist.
Rovers were better initially, but more shoddy defending nearly saw Hoolohan make it 2-0. Midway through the half, the impressive Stanley Aborah’s free-kick was narrowly wide.
The Hoops should have equalised with 19 minutes left. Miele was put through by a superb Bolger ball but he pulled his effort left of goal when seemingly certain to score.
Rovers were indeed level on 74 minutes when Burke headed home at his ease at the back post after superb, direct running from Carr and an excellent cross.
With Cork held, Waterford remain very much in the title race, something Rovers have been out of for some time.
Shamrock Rovers: Chencinski, Kavanagh, Lopes, Gilchrist (Miele 46), Grace, Boyle, A Bolger, G Bolger, Finn, Burke, Shaw (Carr 46).
Waterford: Vigouroux, Barnett, Daly (Walsh 90), Feely, Puri, Keegan, Aborah, Hery, Hoolohan, Akinade, Duffus (Kasmi 77).
Referee: Neil Doyle (Dublin).