IT Carlow survived an almighty scare as a 14-point lead was whittled away to the bare minimum in Dunganny as Meath staged a spirited revival.
DJ Carey's students now await the outcome of Sunday's clash of Offaly and Kildare to see if they progress to the semi-finals.
Damien Healy, recently named as Meath captain, lined out for the students, who led 2-11 to 0-9 at half-time.
Kilkenny's Kevin Kelly was in outstanding form at midfield for the visitors, while Cha Dwyer hit 1-4 in before withdrawn at the break.
A Neil Heffernan goal revived Meath.
Subs Stephen Clynch and John McCloskey contributed 2-5 between them but Carlow last score, a goal from a Michael O'Hanlon's long-range free on 65 minutes proved crucial.
scorers - IT Carlow: C Dwyer, C Bolger 1-4, S Maher 0-6 (2fs), A Mortimer 1-2, M O'Hanlon 1-0 (f), S Phelan, M Kavanagh 0-1 each. Meath: K Keena, S Clynch 1-3 each, J Toher 0-5, J McCloskey 1-2, N Heffernan 1-0, K Keoghan, J Kelly, S Quigley, P Keogh 0-1 each.
IT CARLOW - E Rowland; R Brown, K Hannafin, D Palmer; T Gallagher, D Healy, D O'Hanlon; K Kelly, T Nolan; M Kavanagh, C O'Dwyer, C Dunford; C Bolger, S Maher, M Redmond. Subs: L Mullally, for Palmer, C Madden for O'Hanlon, S Phelan for Nolan, M O'Hanlon for C Dwyer, J Fitzpatrick for Dunford, A Mortimer for Maher (all h-t)
MEATH - S McGann; S Geraghty, S Whitty, C Reilly; S Brennan, K Keoghan, D Reilly; A Forde, J Keena; J Toher, C McCabe, J Kelly; K Keena, N Heffernan, S Quigley. Subs: C Ennis for McGann, M O'Grady for Kelly, N Weir for J Keena, L Ferguson for Reilly, S Clynch for Quigley (all h-t), L Martyn for Toher, P Heogh for McCabe (both 41), J McCloskey for Heffernan (58).
REF - A Devine (Westmeath)