Hackett pounces late on for Royals to see off gutsy London challenge
Goals in either half from Nicky Horan and Neil Hackett got Meath off to a winning start at Oxhey Park.
The hosts got to within two points of the Royals midway through the second half but Hackett's maximum sealed victory for the visitors.
Centre-forward Hackett finished with 1-4, although it could have been more had he not decided to pop a penalty over the bar on 50 minutes.
Meath settled the quickest, racking up four unanswered points inside five minutes.
The Exiles drew level but were rocked on 20 minutes when a first-time shot by Horan found the net.
London trailed by just three points at the interval, 1-11 to 1-8. Johnny Holohan's two points closed the gap to two with 13 minutes left but Hackett crashed a shot to the net to secure the spoils.
Scorers -- Meath: N Hackett 1-4 (0-3f, 0-1pen), P Durnin 0-6, N Horan 1-1, J Keena 0-3, P Garvey (f), D Kirby 0-1 each. London: M Finn 0-5 (0-5f), J Holohan 1-2, P Stephenson 0-4, C Quinn 0-2 (0-1f), J McCormack 0-1.
Meath -- S Quinn; M Foley, E Fitzgerald, S Donoghue; M Horan, P Fagan, J Boyle; S Clynch, D Kirby; P Durnin, N Hackett, P Garvey; J Keena, N Horan, D Muldoon. Subs: K Keena for Muldoon (57), A Nestor for Keena (60).
London -- P Gannon; C Burke, M Ryan, N Cody; M Mythen, C Forde, F Tierney; J McCormack, P Stephenson; T Twomey, C Quinn, D Kinsella; M Feeney, M Finn, J Holohan. Subs: B Forde for Kinsella (47), T Delaney for Feeney (55), G Power for Quinn (58).
Ref -- A Kelly (Galway).