Meath - 1-8, Clare - 0-6
With a strong wind to their backs in the second half Meath took control at windswept Milltown Malbay on Saturday. In the end they were clearly on top and deserved their five-point win.
Clare led the way in the opening half with five points to their credit without reply from Meath. They kept a clean sheet in the half largely through the magnificent performance of goalkeeper James Hanrahan, who had three superb saves, including one from a penalty.
In the second half Meath had to call on all their experience to carve out a deserved victory. Clare were left to rue many missed opportunities in the opening half. Johnny Daly gave the home side the lead after four minutes and by the end of the first quarter further points had been added by Martin Daly and Ger Keane, both from frees.
However, Clare managed to add just two points, and lead 0-5 to 0-0 at half-time. Within four minutes of the resumption Meath had scored three points through Ray Magee and Ollie Murphy. Martin Daly pulled one back, but that proved to be Clare's last score.
With Meath taking control at midfield their full forward trio of Magee, Evan Kelly and Murphy began to cause problems. Clare still led by a point with just over 10 minutes to go but then the visitors struck the decisive blow when Magee crashed home the all-important goal.
In the remaining time Murphy, Jody Devine - who had an excellent second half - and Magee added points to seal victory.
Meath: C O'Sullivan; M O'Reilly, D Fay, H Traynor; P Reynolds, G Geraghty, D Curtis; N Nestor, N Crawford; N Kearney, P Shanley, J Devine (0-1); R Magee (1-3), E Kelly, O Murphy (0-4). Sub: T Dowd for Shanley.
Clare: J Hanrahan; A Moloney, N Hawes, P Gallagher; B Keating, B Rouine, D O'Driscoll; J Considine (0-1), D Russell; G Keane (0-1), M Daly (0-3), J Daly (0-1); K Considine, O O'Dwyer, J Enright. Subs: M Liddane for Considine, P Cosgrove for Enright.
Referee: M Collins (Cork).