Royals advance after late rally turns the tables on Louth
Meath 2-11 Louth 0-16
Captain Chris O'Connor was the hero as Meath staged a dramatic revival at Drogheda to qualify for their first Leinster junior football decider in a decade.
The corner-back popped up to kick the winning point on the stroke of full-time.
It was the culmination of a rally that had begun when the Royals were five points down with eight minutes remaining.
Louth had led 0-9 to 1-5 at the break despite spurning three clear goal opportunities
Kevin Ross scored for the Meath goal after eight minutes, but the Royals failed to score in the final 14 minutes of the half.
With James Califf and Jim McEneaney dominating midfield and Ronan Holdcroft impressing in attack, Louth had opened up a 0-16 to 1-8 lead by the 52nd minute.
But Bobby O'Brien's goal two minutes later sparked a Meath revival and they registered three points in the final four minutes to snatch victory over their neighbours who were left to rue those missed first half chances.
Scorers - Meath: K Ross 1-3 (0-2f), C Lynch 0-6 (1f), B O'Brien 1-0, S Crosby, C O'Connor 0-1 each. Louth: J Califf (2f), R Holdcroft (1f) 0-6 each, J McEneaney 0-2, J Agnew, C McKeever 0-1 each.
Meath - J O'Connor; M Kearney, G McGowan, C O'Connor; K Traynor, N Shortall, S Heavey; A Farrell, C O'Brien; D McNamara, B O'Brien, A Douglas; K Ross, C Lynch, D Quinn. Subs: S Crosby for Heavey (34), J Finnerty for McNamara (38), A Newman for Shortall (43), F Murphy for Farrell (53).
Louth - C Lynch; K Toner, B Mulligan, C Lenehan; P McGrath, C Smith, D McComish; J Califf, J McEneaney; J Agnew, R Holdcroft, C McKeever; D Maguire, D O'Connor, G McSorley. Subs: P Kirwin for McSorley (37), D Quigley for Smith (BC 43), R Nally for Maguire (50).
Ref - B Tiernan (Dublin)