Stalemate in Tallaght with the promise of much better to come between these sides later in the season.
This was a game that promised a lot without ultimately delivering very much for the 4,167 in attendance.
Shamrock Rovers retain the look of a work in progress, whereas a more settled Dundalk team are trying to click into gear.
Vinny Perth's team were responsible for the better passages of play without making a compelling case for being unlucky.
They didn't create enough chances of real quality with Patrick Hoban well marshalled by the Rovers rearguard and Michael Duffy hunted down on the occasions where he made his way into the final third.
After Monday's derby defeat to Bohemians, this was a chance for Rovers to make a statement and erase the memory. They stopped short of doing that, with a lack of cohesion in their attacking play an area where they need to improve.
Monday's visit of Finn Harps should give them the chance to do so.
Their mission this year is to push Dundalk all the way for the title and they kicked off like a team that was determined to announce their arrival as a serious candidate.
They could have taken an early lead when Austrian striker Orhan Vojic collected a pass from Joel Coustrain and shot over, with Dundalk all at sea in the opening minutes.
The visitors did have a slight excuse in the sense that starting right winger John Mountney picked up an injury in the warm-up that ruled him out. Winter signing from Bohemians Daniel Kelly came into the fray.
He was a big part of their improvement, with the right-sided winger, a revelation since his transition to League of Ireland football from Leinster Senior League level last term.
The former St Patrick's CY and Crumlin United player is a late developer and he went head to head with Rovers left full Trevor Clarke in an intriguing battle.
Dundalk started to get the better of the key battles as half-time approached. Rovers had switched Roberto Lopes to right back in an attempt to nullify Michael Duffy and he was reasonably successful.
However, Dundalk began to work the ball quicker and Sean Murray and Jamie McGrath became more prominent, in addition to Kelly giving them an outlet on the other side.
Rovers boss Stephen Bradley is trying to find a way to accommodate his talented midfielders and they were pulled out of shape in some passages of play. Jack Byrne started as a narrow left winger but drifted infield as the half progressed.
Greg Bolger was solid as a shield but Rovers found themselves under pressure and had a few let offs as the interval approached. Kelly fizzed one effort wide before Patrick Hoban steered a Duffy cross over the bar.
They needed the half-time whistle to regroup but it was more of the same afterwards until Daniel Carr replaced Vojic and shifted the momentum.
But the bottom line was the same as both sides huffed and puffed without ever really displaying the necessary quality to take all the points.