A game of two halves saw Meath grind out a six-point point victory over a battling Armagh team to keep their Division 1 promotion bid on track.
A Mickey Newman free and fine individual scores from James McEntee, Shane McEntee and Darragh Campion gave the Royals a dream start finding themselves 0-04 to 0-00 in front within the opening five minutes.
Armagh slowly began to settle into the game as the opening half wore on but ferocious tackling and intensity from the Meath defenders left the visitors with very little for their efforts early on
The Orchard County eventually found their first score after 15 minutes through midfielder Stephen Sheridan but were having to work so much harder for everything out on the field.
The home side were really making the most of the strong breeze they had behind them in the opening half and to their credit were being rewarded for their huge work rate.t
With 20 minutes gone things went from bad to worse for the Orchard County with a Mickey Newman goal from the penalty spot extending Meath’s lead out to seven points.
Thomas O’Reilly was hauled down as he closed towards goal with Newman continuing his early season form extending Meath’s lead as the opening half wore on
Armagh were really struggling with the intensity and pressing from Andy McEntee’s side and further points in the opening half from Darragh Campion, Cillian O’Sullivan and a late Ben Brennan free gave Meath a half time lead of 1-09 to 0-03.
Kieran McGeeney's side began the second half with blistering pace outscoring Meath by 0-07 to 0-01 in the opening ten minutes with each point lifting the confidence of the away side and also the volumes of the Armagh fans in the stands
Further points from Rian O’Neill, Rory Grugan and Stefan Campbell inched Armagh right back into the game with everything starting to go their way as the game entered the melting pot.
Meath were being pinned into their own half for the majority of the second half and two Mickey Newman scores in the last ten minutes of the half gave Meath just their second and third point of the half but crucially ensured they kept the lead at three points as the game entered the final ten minutes of the game.
With Armagh having no choice in the closing stages but to push forward and try and take something from the game, Meath took full advantage of the gaps further back the field and ensured victory in the dying seconds with a goal from substitute Ethan Devine.
Meath: Andrew 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), Darragh Campion (0-2); Bryan McMahon, Michael Newman (1-6), Thomas O'Reilly (0-1).
Subs: Graham Reilly for Ben Brennan (53), Eoin Lynch for Niall Kane (53), Mickey Burke for Cillian O;Sullivan (62), Ethan Devine (1-0) for Bryan McMahon (64), Gavin McCoy for Ronan Ryan (64), Eoin Lynch for Niall Kane, (58)
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), Ryan McShane (0-2); Stefan Campbell (0-2), Rian O’Neill (0-4), Charlie Vernon.
Subs: Joe McElroy for Stefan Campbell ( 55), Paul Hughes for Ryan Kennedy (60), Aidan Nugent for Ryan McShane (65), Jarly Og Burns for Jemar Hall ( 50)
Referee: Rory Hickey