Bray leads Royals
Meath 1-15 Monaghan 1-9
Seamus McEnaney's involvement with Meath ensured an extra layer of intrigue surrounded this tussle as 4,000 gathered at Pairc Tailtean to witness an encouraging triumph for the Royals.
There was plenty to admire in the first-half enthusiasm of both teams in Navan, with 15 of the 17 scores arriving from play as the standard of fare was decent. Meath weren't as classy in the second period, but they showed enough character to eke out the victory.
Unsurprisingly, Meath tried to leave Paddy Gilsenan and Cian Ward with space to exploit inside, as Stephen Bray was given a withdrawn role. Donnacha Tobin went to wing-back with Chris O'Connor operating at sweeper.
Meath's set-up worked well early on as Bray was cute enough to drift into threatening areas, kicking two points either side of Monaghan efforts from Neil McAdam and Vinny Corey.
With Bray and Graham Reilly efficient, the Royals went in at the break armed with a slender 0-10 to 1-6 advantage.
After the restart Meath continued to frustrate the visitors, who were repeatedly thwarted by the splendid O'Connor. A Bray free was followed by points from Gilsenan and substitute Joe Sheridan, as Meath went four clear.
Monaghan, though, wasted a string of chances and the Royals pounced with seven minutes on the clock. Shane McAnarney finished a sweeping move with a powerful shot that rattled the net, and even though Gilsenan was dismissed Meath had inflicted sufficient damage.
Scorers -- Meath: S Bray 0-6 (2f), G Reilly 0-3, S McAnarney 1-0, C Ward, P Gilsenan 0-2 each, J Sheridan, B Meade 0-1 each. Monaghan: J Turley 1-0, E Duffy, P Finlay (1f), D Hughes (1f) 0-2 each, N McAdam, V Corey, D Morgan 0-1 each
Meath: D Gallagher; M Burke, B Menton, G O'Brien; C McGuinness, S McAnarney, D Tobin; B Meade, M Ward; S Kenny, G Reilly, C O'Connor; S Bray, C Ward, P Gilsenan. Subs: J Sheridan for Tobin (36), C Lenihan for Kenny (47), T Walsh for M Ward (56), C Gillespie for Meade (59)
Monaghan: M Keogh; D Morgan, Darren Hughes, C Walsh; D Mone, V Corey, David Hughes; E Lennon, J Turley; M Downey, E Duffy, N McAdam; P Finlay, K Hughes, C McGuinness. Subs: R McNally for Walsh (6), D Malone for David Hughes (36), S Gollogly for Downey (36), C Hanratty for McGuinness (53), D Clerkin for McAdam
Referee: P Hughes (Armagh)
Sunday Indo Sport