The Royals’ centre-forward made a massive contribution of 15 points in a game where Clynch’s side found itself in arrears for most of it before finally forcing a draw.
Two goals from Down’s Paul Braniff boosted the visitors to a 2-11 to 1-9 half-time advantage. Peter Durnin netted Meath’s goal midway through the first half and shot five points from play.
Down looked set to advance to meet Kerry, but points from Durnin and Clynch (two frees) left the board reading 1-20 to 2-17 at the end of 70 minutes.
Meath led by two points at the turnover. Down rallied and Gareth ‘Magic’ Johnston shot over with seconds left. But there was enough time for Adam Gannon to earn the free which Clynch coolly converted.
Scorers for Meath: S Clynch 0-15 (9fs, 2 65s), P Durnin 1-5, A Gannon 0-2, M O’Sullivan, S Morris, E Marsh 0-1 each.
Scorers for Down: P Braniff 2-5 (0-3fs), D Toner, C Woods (2fs, 2 65s), 0-4 each, D Hughes, C Coulter 0-3 each, F Conway, P Sheehan, G Johnston 0-1 each.
MEATH: S McGann; D Donoghue, D Healy, C Reilly; J Kelly, J Toher, S Heavey; S Morris, S Clynch; P Conneely, M O’Sullivan, E Marsh; B Slevin, A Gannon, P Durnin.
Subs: M Burke for Slevin (29), T McGrath for Conneely (ht), B Hanley for McGrath (48), S Donoghue for Kelly (start of et), P Conneely for Marsh (78), B Slevin for Hanley (84).
DOWN: S Keith; M Conlon, P Flynn, P Hughes; F Conway, C Woods, M Ennis; D Hughes, E Clarke; M Turley, P Braniff, S Nicholson; D Toner, G Johnston, C Coulter.
Subs: P Sheehan for Turley (28), J McCusker for Clarke (ht), K McGarry for Nicholson (51), C Dorrian for McGarry (70), C Flynn for Coulter (80), Turley for Dorrian (85).