This game was only a contest briefly in the first half when Meath led thanks to a goal by Jamie Queenie in the 11th minute. But Monaghan led 0-7 to 1-2 at half-time and probably should have been further in front.
In the second half Monaghan pulled further away with early points from Owen Lennon and two from Conor McManus to open a five-point lead before Darren Hughes crashed in a classic goal, playing a series of one-twos with Neil McAdam before smashing the ball past Paddy O’Rourke to put Monaghan completely in the driving seat.
Monaghan continued to reel off the points through Conor McManus, Dick Clerkin and substitute Jack McCarron as Meath capitulated. Meath registered a couple of late consolation scores – a point from a free by Sean Tobin and then a speculative centre by Conor Gillespie dropping into the net – but Monaghan rounded off the day with a point from a 45 by Man of the Match Darren Hughes to leave them winners by 12 points.
Scorers for Monaghan: C McManus 0-8 (2fs), D Hughes 1-1 (1 45), K Hughes, J McCarron, D Clerkin 0-2 each, D Mone, G Doogan, O Lennon 0-1 each.
Scorers for Meath: C Gillespie, J Queeney 1-0 each, D Carroll, B Farrell (f), S Tobin (f) 0-1 each.
MONAGHAN: M Keogh, C Walshe, F Kelly, K Duffy, N McAdam, D Hughes, D Mone, O Lennon, D Clerkin, O Duffy, P Donaghy, G Doogan, K Hughes, C McManus, P Finlay.
Subs: J McCarron for P Finlay, P Dooney for K Hughes, P O’Hanlon for G Doogan.
MEATH: P O’Rourke, D Keoghan, B Menton, D Dalton, C Lenihan, E Harrington, S Crosby, J Sheridan, C Gillespie, B Meade, D Carroll, J Queeney, P Gilsenan, P Byrne, B Farrell.
Subs: G Reilly for P Byrne, M Collins for J Queeney, C Rowe for C Lenihan, S Tobin for P Gilsenan, A Tormey for B Farrell.
Referee: C Brannigan (Down).