Rampant Meath came from five down to burn off Galway with an extraordinary burst of scoring for a 3-18 to 4-11 victory in Division 2 at Pairc Tailteann.
Mick O'Dowd's side trailed with 30 minutes to go and looked in danger of an opening round defeat following promotion.
But a blistering run of form that yielded 1-14 in the second-half, and saw 14 players make the score sheet by full-time, secured a precious victory.
There will be concern among Royals fans about conceding four Galway goals, but their scoring rate meant they could just about afford it.
In the end, all of Meath’s points came from open play as they took a positive first step towards promotion.
And it told a tale of their utter dominance that they also notched 16 wides.
The 2013 Leinster finalists got off to the best possible start with a goal inside 90 seconds thanks to Mickey Newman.
Debutant Cillian O'Sullivan made a brilliant run and dummy solo to evade the goalkeeper, allowing unmarked Newman to palm home into an empty net.
Stephen Bray got their second goal after 23 minutes when he applied a blistering finish from close range following a Newman pass.
The Royal County could have conceivably had five goals by half-time but O'Sullivan was twice denied, while Eamonn Wallace hit the post.
The hosts also hit nine early wides and were left to rue all those misses at half-time as Galway led 2-6 to 2-4.
Sean Armstrong and full-forward Michael Martin hit the net for the Westerners in the 10th and 33rd minutes.
And just like Meath the visitors could have had more as Martin also missed a penalty in first-half injury-time.
Davy Dalton was adjudged to have fouled Gary Sice but Martin couldn't take advantage, his low shot palmed away by Paddy O'Rourke.
Former Kildare forward James Kavanagh impressed for Galway, booting a point and playing the diagonal ball in for Martin's goal.
Galway were helped by Meath's shaky defence which was worryingly split open throughout the game.
Sub Tom Flynn cut in from the right and shot off the underside of the bar for Galway's third goal early in the second-half.
And when Sice pointed in the 40th minute for Galway they led 3-7 to 2-5.
But they simply couldn't hold on as Meath upped the ante and took advantage of the strong wind behind them.
Meath were back level by the 52nd minute thanks to a point from the excellent Andrew Tormey and they then stormed clear with points from all three of their substitutes and a stunning solo goal by O'Sullivan.
Galway: M Breathnach; D O'Neill, F Hanley, J Moore; S Denvir, G Higgins, P Varley; F O Curraoin, P Conroy (0-04, 2f); G Sice (1-02), S Armstrong (1-02, 0-1f), J Duane; S Walsh, M Martin (1-01), J Kavanagh (0-01).
Subs: T Flynn (1-00) for O Curraoin, E Concannon for Armstrong (black card), C Mulryan for Denvir, D Comer for Walsh.
Meath: P O'Rourke; M Burke (0-01), K Reilly, D Keogan (0-1); P Harnan, B Menton (0-01), D Dalton; A Tormey (0-02), S O'Rourke (0-1); C O'Sullivan (1-01), D Carroll (0-01), G Reilly (0-03); M Newman (1-01), S Bray (1-00), E Wallace (0-01).
Subs: D Bray (0-1) for S Bray, D Larkin (0-01) for Wallace, P Gilsenan (0-01) for G Reilly.
Referee: M Higgins (Fermanagh)