The difference in class gives Royals’ manager Mick O’Dowd something to think about as he watched his charges playing second fiddle for long spells on his home pitch.
Meath had the better of much of the first-half and led 0-6 to 0-2 after 20 minutes. But then Cork hit them with 1-6 without reply to go in with a 1-8 to 0-6 interval advantage.
Paul Kerrigan was the main playmaker for the visiting attack and he set up John Hayes for the first goal before leaving five points in it at the halfway stage.
The hosts made a brief revival on the restart with points from the cousins Shane and Paddy O’Rourke (free) and Sean Curran leaving it 1-9 to 0-9.
However, Cork packed too much power and two goals from substitute Donal Óg Hodnett put Cork firmly in control.
Scorers for Cork: D Óg Hodnett 2-1, J Hayes 1-0, F Goold, 0-3, P Kerrigan 0-3, B Hurley, D Goulding, 1f, 0-2 each, J Loughrey, R Deane 0-1 each.
Scorers for Meath: D Bray 0-3, B McMahon 0-2, 1f, P O’Rourke, f, D Tobin, S Curran, S O’Rourke, B O’Brien, A Tormey, J Wallace, D Larkin 0-1 each.
CORK: K O’Halloran; C Dorman, M Shields, N Galvin; J Loughrey, Tom Clancy, B O’Driscoll; S Dineen, F Goold; R Deane, P Kerrigan, M Collins; J O’Rourke, B Hurley, J Hayes.
Subs: D Hanrahan for O’Halloran, D Goulding for Hayes, D Og Hodnett for Dineen (all h-t), P Kelly for Loughrey (44), Tomás Clancy for O’Driscoll (48).
MEATH: P O’Rourke; M Burke, C Young, E Harrington; D Tobin, D Keogan, S Curran; S O’Rourke, A Flanagan; J McEntee, B O’Brien, A Tormey; B McMahon, D Bray, J Wallace.
Subs: B Meade for McEntee (41), P Gilsenan for Tobin (45), D Carroll for O’Brien (45), H Rooney for Flanagan, D Lenihan for Wallace (both 51), D Larkin for Harrington (58).
Referee: A Nolan (Wicklow).