Meath advanced to the second round of the Leinster MHC as they held off a strong Antrim challenge to secure an impressive 3-17 to 2-12 victory at Clane on Saturday.
Inspired by two goals from Cathal McKeown and a man-of-the-match display from captain James Murray Meath recovered from a tentative start to take command before half-time and then hold on for a fully merited victory.
Meath opened the scoring in the first minute, but withing seven minutes they were 0-1 to 0-4 adrift as Seamus McAuley inspired Antrim.
However the accuracy of Conor McGovern kept Meath in contention and when McKeown and McGovern pounced for goals in the closing 10 minutes of the half they established a 2-6 to 0-7 interval lead.
Points from Jack Lanigan, Murray and McGovern stretched Meath's lead to 2-9 to 0-8, but before the end of the third quarter Daire Murphy nipped in for two goals to drag Antrim back into contention, 2-8 to 2-10.
There was still only two points between the sides with seven minutes remaining, but in the closing stages Meath settle again and pulled clear with McGovern (two) and Murray pointing before McKeown netted his second goal in injury-time to put the issue beyond doubt.