Royals hold firm after McGowan's early salvo
Meath 0-12 Louth 0-11
Padraig McGowan scored four of his side's five points in the opening 20 minutes and that set Meath up for an unconvincing win at Drogheda.
Louth led only once - when Tadhg McEneaney opened the scoring. With McGowan in red-hot form, Meath led 0-7 to 0-5 at the break.
Points from Dion Conlon and Sam Mulroy had Louth level by the 40th minute but they spurned numerous scoring opportunities.
Meath were more clinical as substitutes James McKeown and Brian Conlon made a telling contribution, sending the visitors three points clear.
Louth twice reduced the deficit to the minimum in the final 10 minutes but the Royals managed to hold out in a tense finish.
SCORERS - Meath: P McGowan 0-4, T O'Reilly 0-3 (2fs), J McKeown 0-2, C Halligan, D McEntee (f), B Conlon 0-1 each. Louth: T McEneaney 0-5 (1f), S Mulroy, D Conlon (1f), R Nally 0-2 each.
MEATH - J Browne; D Quinn, D O'Neill, C Harnan; T McGuinness, I Hughes, Ronan Ryan; R Jones, C Nash; E O Donnchadha, T O'Reilly, Ross Ryan; P McGowan, C Halligan, D McEntee. Subs: J McKeown for O Donnchadha (25), B Hoey for Ross Ryan (h-t), B Conlon for Halligan (40), S Ogungbe for Hughes (45), D Lynch for McEntee (45), A Nevin for Nash (59).
LOUTH - F Sheekey; K Carr, A Dunne, H Osbourne; P Hanlon, A O'Connor, N Sharkey; R Ward, M Corcoran; D McConnon, D Conlon, C Callan; T McEneaney, P Matthews, R Nally. Subs: C Downey for Osbourne (23), S Mulroy for McConnon (26), B Matthews for P Matthews (40), R Rooney for Hanlon (50).
REF - F Smyth (Offaly)