A slightly more committed Leitrim grabbed a 0-5 to 0-1 lead by the 14th minute, with Emlyn Mulligan tapping over three frees and Robbie Lowe adding two points from play.
But Eamonn Walsh replied with a Waterford point and a Liam Ó Lionáin goal was followed by an Eamon Walsh point a minute later to put Waterford level. Leitrim claimed a 0-8 to 1-3 half-time lead thanks to a Mulligan free and a Lowe point.
After the restart Leitrim surged ahead when Mulligan put over two more frees but Waterford answered almost immediately with a Shane Briggs point from play and free by substitute Mark Ferncombe.
Leitrim outgunned Waterford 0-5 to 0-3 in the remainder of the action when Mulligan found the range from three further frees and sub Ray Cox shot over twice from play.
Scorers for Leitrim: E Mulligan 0-8 (7fs), R Lowe 0-3, R Cox 0-2, S Moran, W McKeon 0-1 each.
Scorers for Waterford: L Ó’Lonáin 1-0, C McGrath, S Briggs, M Ferncombe (2fs) 0-2, E Walsh, S O’Hare (45) 0-1.
LEITRIM: C McCrann; J Glancy, C Egan, P Maguire, D Beck, F McMorrow, W McKeon; D Lowe, S Moran; P Brennan, R Lowe, C Ryan; K Conlan, P McGowan, E Mulligan.
Subs: G Loughlin for McCrann (33), R Cox for Lowe (55), C Clarke for Brennan (71).
WATERFORD: S Enright; Niall Hennessy, A Doyle, K Connery; T Grey, S Briggs, W Hennessy; E Walsh, S O’Hare; C McGrath, L Ó’Lonáin, C O’Keeffe; G Nugent, S Fleming, J J Hutchinson.
Subs: Tagh Ó’hUallacháin for N Hennessy (ht), M Ferncombe for W Hennessy (ht), J Veale for Nugent (55), J Wall for Ó’Lonáin (61).
Referee: S Carroll (Westmeath).