Laois suffered their second defeat of Justin McNulty's reign in Navan on Tuesday night, as Meath got the better of them by three point.
In a drab encounter, the home side held the advantage for long spells and led 0-6 to 0-3 at the break. Laois did respond briefly in the third quarter to draw level at 0-6 each but didn't have sufficient scoring power to seriously trouble the home side.
It took a brief scuffle involving several players to finally bring the game to life in the final quarter.
The visitors squandered numerous chances in the opening half and a sixth-minute Ross Munnelly point was all they managed from play in that period.
Meath fared only marginally better but Paddy O'Rourke, who started out at full-forward, showed promise and accounted for two points before he replaced Brendan Murphy between the posts at the start of the second half.
Points from Munnelly, Daithi Carroll and Donal Brennan had the sides level by the 40th minute.
However, the introduction of Shane O'Rourke at the start of the second half proved decisive and he registered four points, including two from frees, as Meath regained the initiative.
Laois did manage to reduce the deficit to the minimum by the 58th minute, but failed to score again as Meath finished strongly.
The counties are set to meet again in the opening round NFL Division 2 tie and, understandably, neither Seamus McEnaney or Justin McNulty were prepared to show their strongest hand in this tie.
SCORERS - Meath: Shane O'Rourke 0-4 (2f), Ian Davis, Paddy O'Rourke, Brian Farrell (2f) 0-2 each, Niall Mooney 0-1. Laois: Ross Munnelly 0-4 (2f), Daithi Carroll 0-2 (2f), Jason Enright, Donie Brennan 0-1 each.
MEATH: Brendan Murphy; Cormac McGill, James Macken, Cormac McGuinness; Donal Keoghan, Brian Menton, Caoimhin King; Thomas Walsh, Conor Gillespie; Niall Mooney, Brian Farrell, Shane McAnarney; Paddy Gilsenan, Paddy O'Rourke, Ian Davis. Subs: K Reilly for Macken (h-t), G O'Brien for McGill (h-t), S O'Rourke for Murphy (h-t), A Moyles for Mooney (41), B Meade for Walsh (58).
LAOIS: Michael Nolan; Paul Begley, Conor Boyle, Robbie Kehoe; Darren Strong, Shane Julian, Niall Donoher; Cathal Og Greene, Colm Coss; Ross Munnelly, Gary Kavanagh, Cristir Maher; Jason Enright, Daithi Carroll, Donie Brennan. Subs: Billy Sheehan for Maher (44), Kieran Lillis for Carroll (47), Kevin Meaney for Coss (54), Padraig McMahon for Begley (54), MJ Tierney for Brennan (66).
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