The game at a glance
Cian Ward (Meath): When a player scores four goals in a championship match, the choice is elementary. What's more, none of Ward's quartet could be described as lucky or straightforward.
Ward's second goal in the 29th minute gave Meath the belief to go on and dominate. The timing was perfect as Darren Clarke had just capitalised on an error at the other end for his goal just two minutes earlier.
When was the last time a player scored four goals in a championship match? And the 2010 Leinster final can now be laid to rest. It won't ease the sense of injustice for Louth but this result might just allow Meath to move on.
There were plenty of frees and yellow cards, but the atmosphere was tense and there was much at stake. Maurice Deegan handled it well.
What they said
Seamus McEnaney (Meath manager):
"There is a lot of stuff hanging over since last year's Leinster final and they (the players) wanted to put it to bed. In fairness to the lads, this doesn't need to be talked about again."
Peter Fitzpatrick (Louth manager):
"I could do a runner, let them go ahead in Division 2 and let them be relegated, but I am not a coward. I was waiting 14 or 15 years to manage my county. I'll be honest, it was one of the proudest days of my life, to be given the manager's job."
Wides: Meath 15 (10); Louth 10 (4)
Frees: Meath 28 (14); Louth 20 (10)
Yellow cards: Meath 6 (S Kenny 18, J Sheridan 25, B Meade 43, A Moyles 62, C O'Connor 63, M Ward 65); Louth 3 (P Keenan 43, D Crilly 50, B Donnelly 56)
Meath meet Galway in Round 2 of the qualifiers on July 9. Louth must look to 2012 and Division 2 football.