There was late drama as Meath hurlers dug deep to make certain of retaining their Division 2A status for next season at Páirc Tailteann in Navan yesterday.
Mayo needed victory by a wide margin to have any chance of staying in the division, and while they always looked condemned to relegation they did look like ending their losing sequence with a first win of the campaign.
They led until the 69th minute but were then undone by Meath's late surge. A penalty from Jack Regan following a foul on sub Mikey Mullen brought the Royals back into contention and drew the sides level a minute from time.
The visitors responded with the lead point from Shane Boland but in the four minutes of added time the hosts hit three points to snatch it.
Padraig O'Hanrahan levelled from a free and then pointed Meath ahead for the first time on 74 minutes. Damien Healy then hit the insurance score.
Luckless Mayo were full value for their 0-11 to 0-7 interval lead and they continued to hold the lead for most of the second half.
Scorers - Meath: P O'Hanrahan 0-8 (7f); J Regan 1-2 (1-0 pen); E Ó Donnchadha 0-3; J Kelly, M Burke, A Gannon, D Healy 0-1 each. Mayo: S Boland 0-9 (7f); G Kelly, E Delaney 0-2 each; B Hunt, C Freeman, C Phillips, S Mulroy, A Phillips 0-1 each.
Meath - C Ennis 7; S Morris 7, S Brennan 7, S Geraghty 7; K Keoghan 7, S Whitty 7, J Kelly 7; M Burke 6, P Potterton 7; C O'Sullivan 6, P O'Hanrahan 8, J Toher 6; J Regan 7, D Healy 7, E O Donnchadha 7. Subs: A Douglas 6 for O'Sullivan (44), N Potterton 6 for Burke (48), A Gannon 6 for P Potterton (55), M Mullen 7 for O Donnchadha (61),
Mayo - B Douglas 7; G Nolan 7, S Coyne 7, C Murray 7; B Hunt 6, D Kenny 7, S Kenny 7; D Huane 7, C Freeman 7; G Kelly 7, C Phillips 7, S Mulroy 7; E Delaney 7, B Morley 6, S Boland 8. Subs: A Phillips 6 for Hunt (h-t), J Gallagher 6 for Kelly (54), L Hurley 6 for Delaney (63), T Sweeney for C Phillips (73), C Gardner for Morley (75).
Ref - M Murtagh (Westmeath).