Meath carved out a hard-earned 0-17 to 2-10 Leinster JFC semi-final victory against Louth tonight at Pairc Tailteann.
In terms of winning the game, Meath's first-half tally of five points was marginally better than Louth's second-half total of four and that ultimately made the difference when Dublin referee David O'Connor ended the action after three minutes of second-half added time.
However, it was Meath's blistering third-quarter that produced six unanswered points that really gave them the platform for success and a Leinster final ticket against Kildare on Sunday 23rd June.
SEE ACTION FROM CLOSING MINUTES
Frank O'Reilly's first minute point attempt was dropping short, but Kevin Ross got a touch to deflect it over the bar for the opening point.
Danny Quinn increased Meath's advantage soon after when he curled over from play, but Louth reeled off points from Barry O'Hare (two frees) and a fine Eamon O'Neill effort from play.
O'Hare converted two more frees for Louth and also sent over from play, but it was a goal-blitz in a six-minute spell that left Louth with a merited 2-6 to 0-5 interval advantage.
Cian Callan hit the opening goal in the 16th minute and the Metah rearguard was carved open again when Cathal Bellew got through and finished to the net.
All Meath could muster in response was a pointed free apiece from Ross and O'Reilly although Louth were fortunate not to concede a goal in a bit of pinball around the square before 'keeper Luke Haggins got the ball out of play for '45' that Meath sent wide.
Meath were much more fluent after the resumption with the introduction of Darren Finney putting a bit more pressure on the Louth rearguard.
The third-quarter points flowed from O'Reilly (two frees), Sean Reilly, Ross (free), Finney and Quinn to make it 0-11 to 2-6 by the end of the third-quarter.
Louth survived the onslaught and countered with a pointed free from goalkeeper Haggins and O'Neill added another from play, but the hosts made it a one-point game again when Jason Scully opened his account and Ross converted a free.
Finney's point drew the sides level and then Ross (free) was on target again as Meath hit the front, briefly, before Fergal Malone had Louth on terms.
As the excitement levels increased the men from the Wee County forged ahead through O'Hare with O'Reilly's '45' reviving Meath for parity once more.
Meath had one more go and Oran Meehan raced through with what looked like a goal chance, but he opted to fist over what ultimately was the winning point.
Meath - Kevin Ross 0-5 three frees; Frank O'Reilly 0-5 four frees, one '45'; Darren Finney 0-2; Danny Quinn 0-2;
Sean Reilly 0-1; Jason Scully 0-1; Oran Meehan 0-1.
Louth - Barry O'Hare 0-6 three frees; Cian Callan 1-0; Cathal Bellew 1-0; Eamon O'Neill 0-2; Fergal Malone 0-1; Luke Haggins 0-1.
Meath - Adam McDermott (Dunshaughlin); Darren Gibney (Moylagh), Michael Flood (St Brigid's), Kieran Slavin (Meath Hill); James Cassidy (Moynalty), Morgan Callaghan (Dunderry), Robin Clarke (Duleek / Bellewstown), Sean Reilly (Moylagh), Danny Quinn (Ballinabrackey); Cathal McConnell (Bective), Frank O'Reilly (Carnaross), Jason Scully (OLdcastle); Oran Meehan (St MIchael's), Robbie Farrelly (Oldcastle), Kevin Ross (Castletown). Subs - Darren Finney (Castletown) for Gibney half-time; Stephen Coogan for Farrelly 48 mins, Tommy O'Reilly for McConnell 53m.
Louth - Luke Haggins; Niall Sharkey, Adam Shields, Patrick Hanlon; Cathal Bellew, Peter Nixon, Barry Reynolds; Eamon O'Neill, Seanie Crosbie; Gerry Garland, Cian Callan, Dean Carolan; Philip Englishby, Padraig Moley, Barry O'Hare. Subs - Sean Marry for Moley 27 mins,Jordan O'Donoghue for Carolan 46 mins, Fergal Malone for Garland 48m,Val Leddy for Crosbie 52m, Terry Donegan for O'Neill 60m.
Referee - David O'Connor (Dublin).