After a very encouraging opening half Meath lost their way against the Faithful County in the Walsh Cup at Trim this afternoon.
Before a big crowd Meath deservedly led 0-7 to 0-4 at the interval but eventually ended up losing on a 3-12 to 2-10 scoreline.
Meath also finished this slow-burning encounter with 13 men after Jack Walsh and James Toher were sent off in the closing stages.
Both players were shown two yellow cards before they saw red.
Walsh was went packing for an off the ball incident while Toher received his second yellow on 66 minutes following a sideline skirmish that involved a number of players.
Meath had a very enterprising opening half with Sean Quigley slotting over three fine scores while Toher added three, two from frees.
Toher's point from play was special as it came from close to the corner flag but he somehow found the right angle to steer the ball between the posts.
Meath mopped up a lot of breaking ball and also passed well with players invariably finding their colleagues - at least in that opening half.
Shane Whitty also fired over to help give the home side their relatively comfortable lead.
Another major factor in helping Meath edge in front at the interval was the performance of goalkeeper Shane McGann. The Kiltale netminder saved two penalties.
The first was a brilliant one-handed effort on two minutes with McGann diving to his right to turn a Shane Dooley piledriver around the post.
McGann did it again on 20 minutes. Offaly were awarded the penalty for a foul on Oisin Kelly. Again Dooley took it and McGann saved, the ball bouncing off his stick against the post and away.
Offaly proved the much stronger side in the second-half and two goals from Oisin Kelly and one from Sean Cleary put them in the clear.
Offaly however will be concerned by the fact they shot 20 wides over the course of the afternoon with Kelly their main marksman with 2-1, his goals scored in the 46th and 70th minutes.
In between Sean Cleary also found the net after 27 minutes and he finished up with 1-1.
Shane Dooley scored six points for Offaly but he also missed a number of good scoring opportunities, something the midlanders did on a frequent basis.
Meath kept battling away but they were unable to overtake the visitors despite managing two late goals, one from Sean Quigley from a free with Luke Martyn getting the other.
Quigley's goal came when he somehow sqeezed his effort inside the post.
The late goals put a better reflection on the scoreline but there was no catching Offaly.
Meath - Shane McGann; Sean Geraghty, Ronan Sherlock, Cormac Reilly; Keith Keoghan, Darragh Kelly, Shane Whitty (0-1); Anthony Forde, Padraig Kelly; James Toher (0-5 four frees), Garry Kelly, Niall Weir; Mark O'Sullivan, Neil Heffernan, Sean Quigley (1-4 one point free, goal free). Subs - Jack Walsh for G Kelly half-time, Kevin Keena for P Kelly 48 mins, Shane Brennan for Heffernan 51m, David Reilly for Sherlock 52m, Cathal McCabe for Weir 56m, Liam Ferguson for Geraghty 66m, Luke Martyn (1-0) for Forde 69m.
Offaly - James Dempsey; Paddy Rigney, Michael Cleary, Paddy Delaney; Ben Conneely, Conor Doughan, Sean Gardiner (0-2); David King (0-1), Sean Ryan; Pat Camon, Liam Langton, Tom Carroll; Shane Dooley (0-6 three frees), Oisin Kelly (2-1), Sean Cleary (1-1). Subs - Aidan Treacy for Langton, Adrian Cleary for Camon both half-time, Conor Molloy (0-1) for Carroll 39m.
Referee - Gearoid McGrath (Wexford)