Carlow made a Joe McDonagh cup statement when they filleted a team which has given them plenty of trouble over the last number of years.
The Barrowsiders got off to a great start with Marty Kavanagh landing a free while Kevin McDonald and Sean Murphy quickly tacked on a point each. Meath looked totally out of sorts and paid the penalty when Chris Nolan beat his marker on the left before firing home.
Carlow were in flying form and Conor Kehoe was on hand to score a second goal. The home side needed to do something special and they were given the opportunity when Jack Regan stood over a 20m free. These kind of situations are bread and butter moments for the Meath man. This time he failed to get any force behind his shot and the Carlow defence parried the sliotar and cleared to safety.
With Diarmuid Byrne, Fiachra Fitzpatrick and Jack Kavanagh all getting in on the scoring Carlow led 2-15 to 0-10 at the interval. The Royals would have hoped to hit the ground running in the second half. The failed to do so and further points from Murphy and Richard Coady took the wind out of their sails. Murphy then intercepted a loose clearance, ran at the home defence and easily goaled. Meath also lost Shane Whitty and after a lengthy stoppage he left the field on a stretcher.
It just got worse and worse for the home side. It was no surprise when Marty Kavanagh ran down the left end-line and made space to fire home Carlow's fourth goal.
Meath misery was completed at the end when Kevin Keena saw red on the advice of an umpire. Eight minutes of injury time prolonged their agony and now Carlow are up and running after this easy win.
Carlow: Brian Tracey; Paul Doyle, Conor Lawler, Michael Doyle; Jack McCullagh (0-1), Diarmuid Byrne (0-3), Fiachra Fitzpatrick (0-3); Jack Kavanagh (0-1), Conor Kehoe (1-1); Sean Murphy (1-4), Jon Nolan, Kevin McDonald (0-5 f); Richard Coady (0-1), Marty Kavanagh (1-9 5fs 65), Chris Nolan (1-2).
Subs: Fiac O'Toole for Kehoe (63), Tony Lawlor for McCullagh (64), John Michael Nolan for M. Kavanagh (65), Paul Coady for Coady (71), Niall Bolger for M. Doyle (73)
Meath: Charlie Ennis; Brendan McKeown, Shane Brennan, Sean Geraghty; James Kelly (0-1), Shane Whitty, Stephen Morris; Nicholas Potterton (0-1), Patrick Potterton (0-1); Mark O’Sullivan, Jack Regan (0-7 65 4fs), David Reilly (0-1); Adam Gannon, Damien Healy (0-1f), Mickey Cole (0-1).
Subs: Jack Walsh for O’Sullivan (30), Eamon O Donnchadha (0-1) for Gannon (35), Justin Coyne (0-1) for P. Potterton (h/t), Michael Burke for Whitty (36), Kevin Keena (0-1f) for Reilly (52), Padraig O Hanrahan (0-1f) for Regan (59).
Referee: Colum Cunning (Antrim).