A fantastic second-half comeback saw Meath overcome Sligo in a frantic encounter in Navan.
Sligo's two first-half goals were both a result of poor defending. The first came after only five minutes when an unmarked Shane McManus fired low past Paddy O'Rourke in the Meath goal.
The Royals responded through a Michael Newman point and a Stephen Bray goal.
Despite pulling the goal back, Meath failed to tighten up their defence, and moments after Philip Greene had picked the ball out of the Sligo net, his opposite number was doing the same after Adrian Marren was left unmarked near the edge of the square. Marren finished the half with 1-3.
Meath had both Brian Meade and Peader Byrne yellow-carded in the first period as many the Meath team struggled to keep up with the pace of their Connacht counterparts, and went in trailing 2-9 to 1-5 but soon clawed the difference back to two points.
Joe Sheridan's was introduced in place of the excellent Eamonn Wallace, kick-starting another flurry of Meath scores, first Lenihan neatly slotting over his third of the evening, then Michael Newman levelling the game with his seventh. Newman followed this with a superb long-range free to finally give his side a deserved lead going into the final moments. The victory was sealed with Sheridan's late point in front of a jubilant home crowd.
Scorers – Meath: M Newman (0-8, 6f), S Bray (1-0), C Lenihan (0-3), E Wallace, P Gilsenan, D Larkin, B Meade, G Reilly, J Sheridan (0-1 each). Sligo: A Marren (1-5 2f), S McManus (1-0); M. Breheny (0-3, 1f), A McIntyre (0-2), K Cawley, P Hughes (0-1 each).
Meath: P O'Rourke; D Keogan, B Menton, C Young; C Lenihan, E Harrington, D Dalton; B Meade, K Reilly (capt); D Larkin, C Ward, P Byrne; E Wallace, S Bray, M Newman. Subs: G Reilly for C Ward (31), C Gillespie for E Harrington (35), P Gilsenan for P. Byrne (35), B Farrell for S Bray (46), J Sheridan for E Wallace (61).
Sligo: P Greene; C Harrison, J Martyn, R Donovan; K Cawley, A McIntyre, B Curran; S Gilmartin, J Kilcullen; M Breheny, P Hughes, F Quinn; B Egan, S McManus, A Marren. Subs: J. Clarke for M. Breheny (31), J. Kelly for S McManus (52) N Murphy for F Quinn (65)
Referee: B Cassidy (Derry)