The Royals failed to score for 25 minutes either side of half time following the dismissal of Andrew Tormey, and only hit one point from play in a damp, dogged contest.
Conditions were awful, and both sides found it difficult to convert frees on a heavy pitch, but O’Dowd refused to make excuses for his under-performing forwards.
“We scored six points and only one from play — end of story,” he said. “We only conceded 10 points, which is not bad especially with 14 men, but our attacking play was very poor. If you’d asked me this morning I’d have said we couldn’t have prepared any better. Things went very well during the week. But you have to be ready. We knew what to expect coming up here and it’s not an excuse for six points.
“We weren’t able to work the ball into the shooting zone and I’d put that down to a low energy in our attacking play.”
Tomas Corrigan, who took over the free-taking duties from the struggling Sean Quigley, scored 0-4 in the last 15 minutes to get Fermanagh their first win in Division Two.
Although Pete McGrath’s side showed little ambition to push forward with the extra man and set up very defensively, they were efficient, well organised and thoroughly deserved to stretch their unbeaten home run in Enniskillen to 11 games, going back to June 2014.
“It is something we’ve talked about,” admitted McGrath. “We performed with great energy and played some good football in trying conditions.”
The sides were level three times in the opening 20 minutes, Eoin Donnelly’s booming 55 metre point after 10 seconds setting the tone for a committed Fermanagh display.
Cillian O’Sullivan’s sideline conversion in the 21st minute put Meath 0-3 to 0-2 ahead but they were rocked by the dismissal of Tormey after 23 minutes, for blocking the run of a Fermanagh attacker.
Sean Quigley then scored three unanswered points before the interval, mixing the good with the bad and scoring a tricky free followed by a ‘45’ before missing two easier kicks, but still had Fermanagh 0-5 to 0-3 ahead at the break.
Meath scored three points in a row to go 0-6 to 0-5 ahead after 50 minutes, Donal Lenihan ending their long scoring drought with a left-footed point.
Sean Tobin converted a ‘45’ and then hit a free, which proved to be their last score.
Fermanagh carried the ball well into the wind and drew the fouls, which Corrigan duly converted, and Barry Mulrone kicked the last score.
“It was a day for character, for resilience and for people standing up and taking responsibility and that’s what we did in the last 20 minutes,” McGrath said.
“It wasn’t just a great victory but a very memorable victory, and one which I hope we can build on going forward in this very difficult league campaign.”
T Corrigan 0-4 (4f), S Quigley 0-3 (1f, 1 ‘45’), A Breen, E Donnelly, B Mulrone 0-1 each.
S Tobin 0-3 (2f, 1 ‘45’), D Lenihan 0-1, C O’Sullivan, M Newman 0-1 (f) each.
C Snow; M Jones, C Cullen, N Cassidy; P Rehill, J McMahon, A Breen; E Donnelly, D Kelly; B Mulrone, C Flaherty, R Hanna; R Corrigan, S Quigley, T Corrigan.
P McGovern for Rehill (43), R Jones for Hanna (43). K Connor for Kelly (58), E McHugh for Breen (70).
P O’Rourke; D Keogan, C McGill, M Burke; B Power, P Harnan, C Finn; H Rooney, A Tormey; G Reilly, C O’Sullivan, J McEntee; S Tobin, M Newman, D Lenihan.
E Wallace for Lenihan (45), D Smyth for McEntee (57), A Douglas for Finn (63), B O’Brien for Tobin (68), R O Coilleann for Reilly (69).
Sean Hurson (Tyrone) .