In this Ring Cup quarter-final holders Kildare turned a nine-point deficit into a eight-point win over Meath at Trim on Saturday.
Kildare ....... 3-23
Meath ........ 2-18
Meath lost wing-back Keith Keoghan to a second yellow card in the 57th minute but regained the lead seconds later when Jack Fagan netted after Alan Douglas' effort was parried by Kildare 'keeper Paul Dermody.
With numerical and elemental advantage, Brian Lawlor's men outscored Meath by 11 points to two in the time remaining to finish with eight points to spare.
Gerry Keegan led the way with 2-5 from play for Kildare while the other corner-forward Mark Delaney chipped in with nine points (five frees). Kildare finished with nine scorers, including three defenders and one sub.
Facing the elements, Meath did well to restrict Kildare to two points in the third quarter and led by two, 1-16 to 3-8, after 59 minutes following Willie McGrath's third point.
Deploying nominal full-forward James Toher in a sweeper role helped the Royals' cause during this phase.
Points from Delaney and Bernard Deay - who scored 1-3 - levelled matters for the fourth time. Scores were tied for fifth and final time in the 59th minute (2-16 to 3-13) when Deay pointed.
Eleven first-half wides also holed Meath's bid to advance while tenacious defending allied to a more prolific attack ensured Kildare defeated Meath for the third time this year in competitive action (Kehoe Cup, NHL Division 2B, NHL Division 2B final) as well as last year's Ring Cup semi-final.
With the breeze and the sun in their favour Meath took the game to the holders from the off, posting five points in the opening nine minutes when playing into the town goal. Willie McGrath was prominent in the early exchanges for the Royals and registering the first two scores.
A Mark Delaney free got Kildare off the mark in the ninth minute. Meath passed up a goal chance when midfielder fired low, right and wide in the 11th minute. Four minutes later Jack Regan netted for the home side with McGrath providing the assist.
Entering the second quarter, Meath led by nine points, 1-7 to 1-1, but their wide count was mounting. Gerry Keegan got the Kildare revival going 19 minutes in. Yet they were still seven points off the pace, 1-2 to 1-9 after 25 minutes.
Kildare posted 2-5, conceding just one point, between the 25th and 32nd minutes with Keegan and Bernard Deay goaling. The latter left Kildare in front for the first time, 3-6 to 1-10.
Meath closed out the half with three points on the spin. Regan landed two frees to bring his tally to 1-6 while Stephen Morris's persistence was rewarded with a fine effort from play.
Martin Ennis's men led by the minimum, 1-13 to 3-6, at the break but had posted 11 wides in the first 35 minutes to Kildare's five.
Meath - Shane McGann; Cormac Reilly, Shane Brennan, Shane Whitty; Keith Keoghan, Michael Burke (0-1), Sean Heavey (C); Damien Healy, Stephen Morris (0-1); Jack Fagan (1-1), Jack Regan (1-8, 0-8fs), Eoin Marsh (0-2); Alan Douglas, James Toher (0-2), Willie McGrath (0-3). Subs - Charlie Bird for Marsh (52), Sean Quigley for McGrath (61), Darren Reilly for Healy (66).
Kildare - Paul Dermody; Dinny Stapleton (0-1), Fiachra O Muineachain (0-1), John Doran; Niall O Muineachain, Mark Moloney, Eanna O'Neill (C, 0-1); Martin Fitzgerald, Paul Divilly; Willie Greene (0-1), Declan Flaherty (0-1), Bernard Deay (1-3); Mark Delaney (0-9, 5fs), Evan Dempsey, Gerry Keegan (2-5). Subs - David Young (0-1) for Greene (53), Leo Quinn for Dempsey (67).
Referee - Tony Carroll (Offaly)