After seeing their nine-point interval lead whittled down to one with 14 minutes remaining Meath showed remarkable resilience to claim the NFL Div 2 spoils against Armagh with a 2-13 to 0-13 victory in Pairc Tailteann today.
Trailing by 0-3 to 1-9 at half-time Armagh quickly set about eating into that deficit and closed the gap to 0-12 to 1-10 57th minute.
However they failed to score gain until Rian O'Neill's 75th minute free as Meath bagged a second goal from substitute Ethan Devine to steady the ship and seal the win.
Meath used the strong wind to good effect early on with Shane McEntee, Mickey Newman (free), James McEntee and Darragh Campion firing them into a 0-4 to 0-0 lead inside five minutes.
However Armagh defended well for the next 14 minutes and managed to register a point from Stephen Sheridan to close the gap, but in the 20th minute Newman converted a penalty after Tomas O'Reilly was fouled to give the hosts a 1-4 to 0-1 advantage.
Newman (free) and Cillian O'Sullivan stretched Meath's lead before Rory Grugan pulled one back for Armagh, but Meath continued to use the wind well with Campion and O'Reilly on target.
Rian O'Neill added Armagh's third point from a free, but on the stroke of half-time Ben Brennan converted a free to ensure a 1-9 to 0-3 advantage for the Royals.
Two frees from Grugan and points from Stefan Campbell and O'Neill dragged Armagh back into the game and even a Newman free could help Meath break the momentum as O'Neill (two frees) and Ryan McShane made it 0-10 to 1-10.
After Bryan McMahion was denied a goal chance Armagh countered with points from Grugan and Campbell to make it 0-12 to 1-10, but two more frees from Newman helped steady Meath's nerves.
Armagh ran out of legs and ideas and after o'Reilly made it 1-13 to 0-12, Devine palmed the ball to the net from close range to ensure Meath's victory.
Meath - Andy Colgan; Seamus Lavin, Conor McGill, Ronan Ryan; James McEntee (0-1), Donal Keogan, Niall Kane; Bryan Menton, Shane McEntee (0-1); Cillian O'Sullivan (0-1), Ben Brennan (0-1 free), Darragh Campion (0-2); Bryan McMahon, Mickey Newman (1-5 1-0 penalty, five frees), Thomas O’Reilly (0-2). Subs – Eoin Lynch for Kane, Graham Reilly for Brennan both 53 mins, Ethan Devine (1-0) for McMahon 64m, Mickey Burke for O'Sullivan 67m, Gavin McCoy for Ryan 70m.
Armagh - Blaine Hughes; Mark Shields, Aaron McKay, James Morgan; Aidan Forker, Greg McCabe, Connaire Mackin; Stephen Sheridan (0-1), Niall Grimley; Jemar Hall, Rory Grugan (0-4 two frees), Ryan McShane (0-1); Stefan Campbell (0-2), Rian O'Neill (0-4 three frees), Ryan Kennedy. Subs – Joe McElroy for Campbell 61 mins, Jarly Og Burns for Hall 64m, Aidan Nugent for McShane, Paul Hughes for Kennedy both 67m
Referee – Rory Hickey (Clare).