Returned hero Burke breaks Blues' brave resistance
Shamrock Rovers 2 Waterford 1
The gap between themselves and league leaders Dundalk is back to four points but Shamrock Rovers fans will have endured, more than enjoyed, this win over a 10-man Waterford.
A flat atmosphere and a small crowd made for a lacklustre game where the key moment was a 51st-minute goal from Graham Burke, the first goal of a second spell with the Hoops for the Ireland international.
After a dull opening spell, the game burst into life for the last nine minutes of the first half, with two goals and a red card.
Rovers had been struggling to break down a resolute-looking Waterford side and it will pain manager Alan Reynolds that the Blues gifted Rovers their goal on 36 minutes, a poor backpass from young defender Robert Slevin falling into the path of Graham Cummins and he slotted home.
Level But Waterford were level within five minutes, JJ Lunney with a well-delivered free-kick for Dean O'Halloran to head home.
In first half injury-time, Waterford's Lithuanian international Karolis Chvedukas was shown a straight red for a high tackle on debutant Daniel Lafferty.
Rovers boss Stephen Bradley changed things at half-time, bringing on Jack Byrne and Aaron McEneff, but it was two recent signings who made the difference.
Six minutes into the second half, Lafferty sent in a low cross from the left and, somehow, Burke was left unmarked to stab the ball home.
Shamrock Rovers - Mannus; Callan, Lopes, Grace; Boyle, Bolger (McEneff 46), Watts, Lafferty (S Kavanagh 74); Burke; Greene, Cummins (Byrne 46).
Waterford - Connor; Kavanagh, Slevin, Kougoun, Lynch; Lunney, Holland (Elbouzedi 77), Chvedukas, Poynton; Fitzgerald (Bone 46), O'Halloran (Figuera 68).
Ref - R Rogers.