Galway are within touching distance of an Allianz Football League final spot after battling back from eight points down in Navan to secure their third consecutive Division 1 win, consigning Meath to relegation in the process.

Padraic Joyce's side trailed by 1-06 to 0-01 late in the first-half but fought back to win by two points, an impressive 10-point turnaround in difficult conditions in Navan.

Talisman Shane Walsh top scored with 0-07 including the last two points of a wind and rain battered encounter, sealing a gutsy win for the in-form visitors.

There was a strong cameo too from Paul Conroy who struck four points after coming on as a substitute late in the first-half while Corofin's Ronan Steede hit the Tribesmen's goal.

The win leaves Galway clear at the top of Division 1 though Andy McEntee's men are officially relegated following their fifth defeat in a row.

They'd entertained outside hopes of beating the drop beforehand and raced into that big lead early on but were outscored 1-13 to 0-06 from late in the first-half onwards.

Galway's initial plan was to pick up at Pairc Tailteann where they left off last weekend in Tuam, beating Tyrone with ease, but they were overwhelmed by a surprisingly strong Meath start.

With 31 minutes played, Galway had only registered one point, a Michael Daly effort in the 10th minute.

Meath were aided by a stiff wind but were also hungrier and more efficient with the hosts racing into a 1-06 to 0-01 lead after half an hour.

James Conlon, the small but speedy and ultra sharp corner-forward, scored three of those points for Meath from play.

Ethan Devine struck for their goal in the 16th minute, putting Meath 1-03 to 0-01 ahead at that stage.

It was a fine goal as Meath poured forward in numbers to support full-back Conor McGill's burst out of defence and Bryan McMahon eventually fed Devine who blasted low and hard from the left to find the net.

McGill, an All-Star nominee in 2019, was assigned man marking duties on Galway dangerman Walsh, who hit 1-08 against Tyrone, but aside from setting up that goal the defender also played in McMahon for a 30th minute point.

Midfielder Bryan Menton added a point and Galway native Oisin O'Brien was also on the mark for last year's Leinster finalists in a confident and impressive opening.

Galway, crucially, came back strongly into the game before half-time with four unanswered points to trail by just 1-06 to 0-05 at the interval.

Captain Walsh converted three frees in a row and Eamonn Brannigan closed out the first-half scoring with a Galway score that gave the travelling support real heart.

As the game reached boiling point, Meath selector Donal Curtis and Galway boss Joyce exchanged views while Meath boss McEntee had stern words for referee Niall Cullen as he left the pitch.

Galway dominated the third quarter and hit 1-02 without reply after the restart, the goal from Steede coming in the 40th minute.

It came from a turnover in the Meath defence when Brian Conlon's clearance was intercepted, allowing Conroy to eventually play in Steede.

Conroy himself then levelled the scores at 1-06 apiece in the 43rd minute and they were tied again twice more in the run in.

Donal Lenihan had a strong impact from the Meath bench and scored three late points, two from frees, to tie it up at 1-12 apiece late on but those two late Walsh points for Galway decided an ultra intense contest.

Galway: Connor Gleeson; Sean Kelly, Sean  Mulkerrin, Johnny Heaney; Liam Silke, John Daly, Gary O'Donnell; Ronan Steede (1-01), Tom Flynn; Eamonn Brannigan (0-01), Cein D'Arcy, Michael Daly (0-01); Martin Farragher, Shane Walsh (0-07, 0-06f), Adrian Varley.

Subs: Paul Conroy (0-04, 0-01m) for Farragher (27), Gareth Bradshaw for O'Donnell (52), Robert Finnerty for Varley (55), Darragh Silke for Daly (61), Matthias Barrett for Steede (65).

Meath: Marcus Brennan; Robin Clarke, Conor McGill, David Toner; James McEntee, Ronan Ryan, Donal Keogan; Bryan Menton (0-02), Brian Conlon; Ethan Devine (1-00), Bryan McMahon (0-03), Cillian O'Sullivan; James Conlon (0-03), Oisin O'Brien (0-01), Thomas O'Reilly.

Subs: Shane Walsh for O'Brien (48), Donal Lenihan (0-03, 0-02f) for Devine (55), Jack O'Connor for James Conlon (55), Padraic Harnan for Brian Conlon (55)

Referee: Niall Cullen (Fermanagh).