Tyrone's experience, defensive nous and finishing power saw them to a comfortable five points win over Division One newcomers Meath at Healy Park. 

The Royals travelled north for their first top tier appearance since 2006, and found the going tough against Mickey Harte’s depleted side. 

Darren McCurry top-scored for the Red Hands with 1-6, but they will have tougher tests in the weeks ahead when their strength in depth, with the absence of Mattie Donnelly and Cathal McShane, will be tested.  

McCurry's tenth minute goal was cancelled out by a Bryan McMahon strike, with McCurry’s 1-3 helping the Red Hands to a 1-5 to 1-4 interval lead, and the Ulstermen displayed composure and solidity as they saw out the game. 

Meath came close to a sensational start to the game, Cillian O’Sullivan cutting inside to fire in a shot which was superbly saved by Niall Morgan inside the opening minutes. 

And they had another golden opportunity when James McEntee’s delightful pass over the top picked out Ben Brennan, but the wing forward’s control let him down. 

But it was the Red Hands who found the net in the tenth minute, Colm Cavanagh’s pass to Ronan O’Neill, who picked out McCurry with a perfect assist, and the Edendork man smashed his shot to the net past Dominic Yorke. 

Five minutes later the Royals did get in for the goal they had threatened. Bryan McMahon galloped into acres of space to pick up Brennan’s pass and beat Morgan with a low finish, and the sides were level. 

Colm Cavanagh of Tyrone is put under pressure by Donal Keogan 

The Red Hands moved to close the gaps and make themselves more difficult to penetrate, dropping all 15 men into their own half and breaking at pace to reel off three points on the spin, two of them from McCurry. 

But the Leinster men went level again on the half-our, Joey Wallace and Bryan Menton both hitting the target, thanks to some tenacious defending from David Toner and Conor McGill, and the adventurous spirit of James McEntee, always willing to press along the right flank. 

It was Tyrone who held a narrow 1-5 to 1-4 interval lead, after Liam Rafferty had slotted over a point, and with the slight wind in their backs, they pushed on with further sores from O’Neill and McCurry. 

The home side’s defensive shape improved as the game progressed, and they squeezed their opponent out of the game through organisation and weight of numbers. 

Meath went 25 minutes of the half before Thomas O’Reilly hit their first score from play, while the Red Hands, with Rafferty finding pockets of space to probe and create, were able to exploit the space afforded by a defence growing more and more ragged as the contest progressed. 

Mark Bradley returned after a one-year absence to score two and provide two assists for McCurry frees which stretched the advantage out to seven. 

Late scores from Cillian O’Sullivan, O’Reilly and McMahon did little to ease the pain as the Royals reflected on the realities of live in the top tier. 

Tyrone: N Morgan (0-01, ’45); HP McGeary, R McNamee, C Meyler; M Cassidy, R Brennan, T McCann; C Cavanagh, C Kilpatrick; L Rafferty (0-02), N Sludden (0-01), D McCurry (1-06, 4f); K McGeary, F Burns, R O’Neill (0-01).

Subs: M Bradley (0-02) for Burns (46), B McDonnell for Kilpatrick (46), D Mulgrew for McCann (53), K Coney (0-01) for O’Neill (57), N Kelly for McNamee (71)

Meath: D Yorke; R Clarke, C McGill, D Toner; J McEntee, R Ryan, D Keogan; B Menton (0-01), B Conlon; B Brennan, B McMahon (1-02, 0-2f), E Wallace (0-01); C O’Sullivan (0-01), T O’Reilly (0-03), J Wallace (0-01).

Subs: B Dardis for Yorke (h-t), M Costello for Brennan (43), R Jones for Conlon (47), J O’Connor for J Wallace (58), S Tobin for E Wallace (63)

Referee: J McQuillan (Cavan).