A rip-roaring finish secured Meath's first win in the Allianz League in over two years as the hosts came from behind in Navan to frustrate their neighbours.

Trailing by two points at the second water break and by four with 14 minutes remaining, it looked like Andy McEntee's side were set for more misery following relegation from Division 1 in 2020.

But powered on by their bench who contributed 0-05 in total, the back-to-back Leinster finalists finished strongly to claim their first league win since beating Fermanagh in March 2019.

Meath trailed by 0-13 to 0-09 but scored seven of the game's last nine points to win in what was Shane McEntee's first game as team captain.

Debutant Fionn Reilly was among those late scorers while Eamon Wallace's 71st-minute point ultimately proved to be the winner.

The win leaves Meath in a strong position in Division 2 North ahead of next Sunday's trip to the Athletic Grounds in Armagh to play Down.

Josh Heslin kicked seven points for Westmeath

As for Westmeath, who were led in attack again by John Heslin who claimed 0-07, they will host Connacht champions Mayo in Mullingar.

The head-to-head between Heslin and experienced Meath full-back Conor McGill was the duel of the game.

Heslin signalled early on that he was fully tuned in by playing a role in three of Westmeath's first four points.

Two of those scores came from converted '45s that he helped to win and which were dispatched by the influential Luke Loughlin.

Former New York forward Loughlin caused similar trouble for the Meath hurlers at the same ground last November when he struck a crucial late goal in their Joe McDonagh Cup win.

Former captain Ger Egan was on the mark for Westmeath too who weren't exactly prolific from open play - only three of their first-half points came from play - but still possessed the lead at the interval, 0-08 to 0-07.

Jordan Morris, who scored 4-09 for Meath in his maiden Championship campaign in 2020, clipped a point but was well tracked by Boidu Sayeh generally.

In truth, it was far from a classic contest initially with just seven points from play between the two teams in that opening half.

Egan increased Westmeath's lead with an eye-catching score in the third quarter and Heslin's fifth point of the day left Westmeath 0-10 to 0-07 clear.

The 2015 and 2016 Leinster finalists retained a two-point advantage at the second water break and appeared well positioned to kick on and record an important win.

Yet despite surging to that four-point lead they couldn't kick on as Meath dug deep and reeled off point after point to claim a badly-needed win.

Meath: Andy Colgan (0-01, 0-01f); Seamus Lavin, Conor McGill, Ronan Ryan; Donal Keogan, Shane McEntee, Eoin Harkin (0-01); Bryan Menton (0-01), Padraic Harnan; Ethan Devine, Darragh Campion (0-01), Mathew Costello (0-01); Jordan Morris (0-03, 0-03f), Thomas O'Reilly (0-01, 0-01f), Cillian O'Sullivan (0-02, 0-01f).

Subs: Bryan McMahon (0-02, 0-01f) for O'Reilly & James Conlon (0-01) for Campion (h/t), Jason Scully for Costello & Fionn Reilly (0-01) for Harkin (51), Eamon Wallace (0-01) for Devine (58), Jack O'Connor for Morris (68), David Dillon for O'Sullivan (75).

Westmeath: Jason Daly; Jack Smith, Kevin Maguire, Boidu Sayeh; James Dolan, Ronan Wallace (0-01), Jamie Gonoud; Sam Duncan, Ray Connellan (0-01); David Lynch, Ronan O'Toole (0-01), Denis Corroon; Ger Egan (0-02), John Heslin (0-07, 0-05f), Luke Loughlin (0-03, 0-02 45).

Subs: Kieran Martin for Lynch (54), Lorcan Dolan for Smith (63), Brandon Kelly for Egan (75).

Referee: Brendan Cawley (Kildare).