Meath blew the promotion race in division two wide open when dishing out a first defeat of the campaign to Galway after a thrilling encounter in Navan.
The home side bounced back from a dispiriting defeat to Down last Saturday night to take their second win of the campaign and give their own hopes of a return to the top flight a timely shot in the arm.
Donal Lenihan was the hero of the day as his haul of 1-5 swung the game in Meath’s favour after a breathless second half.
Galway were on top after the restart but Lenihan’s goal on 66 minutes handed the home side the lead that they wouldn’t relinquish despite a late Galway surge.
Kevin Walsh's side came into the game as the only unbeaten side in the division but Andy McEntee’s men produced their best 70 minutes of the season so far to change the promotion picture in the division.
Galway will rue missed goal chances in the first half. Paddy O’Rourke made a good save from Eamonn Brannigan after just four minutes and with the half coming to a close Shane Walsh pulled wide when Barry McHugh and Brannigan had combined to give him a sight of goal.
However, he miscued and Meath breathed a sigh of relief.
In between, the home side grew into the game. It took them 12 minutes to get their first score of the half but with the dominance of Bryan Menton and James Toher growing at midfield, they soon got on top. Cillian O’Sullivan hit the post with a goal chance but they managed scores from five different players to take a 0-8 to 0-4 lead in at the break.
Galway were on top after the restart and went three points clear with ten minutes to play. However, Lenihan’s late strike ensured the Royals would take the spoils.
SCORERS - Meath: D Lenihan 1-5 (1f), C O’Sullivan, G Reilly 0-2 each, W Carry, D Keogan, A Forde, S Tobin (1f) 0-1 each.
Galway: B McHugh 0-5 (1 ’45, 3f), P Conroy 0-3 (1f), M Daly 0-2, G O’Donnell, J Heaney, L Silke, S Walsh, T Flynn 0-1 each.
Galway: R Lavelle; D Kyne, D Walsh, C Sweeney; G O’Donnell, G Bradshaw, L Silke; P Conroy, F O Curraoin; T Flynn, M Daly, E Brannigan; S Walsh, B McHugh, M Lundy SUBS: D Cummins for Lundy (28), J Heaney for Daly (62), G Sice for McHugh (68).
Meath: P O’Rourke; D Keogan, C McGill, D Tobin; W Carry, B Power, P Harnan; B Menton, J Toher; R O Colieain, C O’Sullivan, A Forde; B McMahon, G Reilly, D Lenihan SUBS: S Tobin for McMahon (48), E Wallace for Forde (51), A Flanagan for Toher (55), J Wallace for O Coileain (57), C O’Brien for Wallace (BC 63), M Burke for Carry (BC 69).
Referee: M Deegan (Laois).