Meath set up semi final showdown with Dublin thanks to hard-fought win over Louth
Meath 0-20 1-13 Louth
Meath survived a few uneasy second half moments to book a Leinster semi-final date with Dublin thanks to this four-point win over Louth in Parnell Park.
Louth never stopped searching and asking questions of a fragile Meath defence but ultimately had no answer to Meath's pace on the break, chiefly through Graham Reilly in the second half and Cillian O'Sullivan.
Meath might have made their passage a little easier but spurned too many goal chances, Andrew Tormey shooting over after O'Sullivan's blistering run had put him in one-on-one with Louth goalkeeper Craig Lynch early in the second half.
Substitute Donal Lenihan had a further chance well blocked by Patrick Reilly while Lynch had earlier saved from Newman at close range.
Failure to convert any of these chances made it interesting right to the end as James Califf and James Stewart applied real pressure to the Meath midfield.
Meath's biggest lead was seven points in the 59th minute when Cian O'Brien put them 0-18 to 0-11 clear. But five minutes later Jim McEnaney squeezed home a goal to cause Meath more concern, the gap back to four again.
Mick O'Dowd's side saw it home however with Mickey Newman landing a couple of frees.
The opening quarter had been played out played out at a frantic pace but at the end of that period Meath were showing clear signs of control with championship debutant O'Sullivan pulling the strings and Eamonn Wallace finding gaps in the Louth defence for a 0-6 to 0-3 lead to be established.
Meath were on top defensively too through Donnacha Tobin, Donal keogan and Padraic Harnan especially though mistakes in possession were costly and allowed Louth to stay in touch.
Wing-back Anthony Williams got forward to kick two points, the second of which reduced the gap to two points again, 0-8 to 0-6, but Meath finished the half strong with points from Mickey Newman (free), Wallace after a great move and Andrew Tormey for a 0-11 to 0-6 lead.
Louth closed the gap to just two points early in the second half when they won Meath's first three kick-outs but the response was emphatic with Reilly and Tomrey (twice) on the mark.
Scorers - Meath: M Newman 0-7 (6fs, 1 45), E Wallace 0-4, G Reilly, A Tormey 0-3 each, C O'Sullivan 0-2, C O'Brien 0-1.
Louth: R Burns (3fs), J Califf ( 2fs, 1 45) 0-4 each, J McEnaney 1-0, D Byrne, A Williams 0-2 each, B Duffy 0-1.
Meath: P O'Rourke; D Keogan, M Burke, D Smyth; P Harnan, D Tobin, A Douglas; H Rooney, C O'Brien; E Wallace, C O'Sullivan, G Reilly; A Tormey, D McDonagh, M Newman. Subs: C Finn for Tobin (49) inj, B McMahon for McDonagh (56), D Lenihan for Tormey (63), S Tobin for Reilly (67).
Louth: C Lynch; P Rath, P Reilly, K Toner; A Williams, D McMahon, D Maguire; J Stewart, J Califf; D Byrne, J McEnaney, C McKeever; B Duffy, C Grimes, R Burns. Subs: R Moore for Duffy (36) BC, O Lafferty for McMahon (45) A Reid for McKeever (52), J Bingham for Toner (57), G McSorley for Byrne (68).
Referee: Padraig Hughes (Armagh).