The result relegates Laois, who knew they had to win to stand any hope of staying in the division, and they started the game like men on a mission. Evan O’Carroll and Niall Donoher pointed within a minute of the throw-in to give the O’Moore men a dream start.
Four minutes in they had a goal, as Donie Kingston’s shot was saved by Conor McHugh, but the in-rushing Niall Donoher pounced and fired to an empty net.
Meath could barely get out of their own half and Laois were gladly punishing them, as Conor Meredith sent them six clear when he tapped over a free. John O’Loughlin was next in on the act when he curled over a point from the left wing, and Laois could hardly have asked for a better start.
Meath finally opened their account in the seventh minute when Cillian O’Sullivan pointed from close range, but Laois quickly replied through Gary Walsh.
Seven clear and with wind advantage, Laois looked like they were going to blitz Meath in that first half, but the Royal County came roaring back.
Micky Newman had a goal chance saved but Donnacha Tobin pointed the rebound, and that set them on their way.
A run of points followed, as Graham Reilly (two) and Newman narrowed the gap.
Laois were struggling to keep up now, and Meath had finally hit their stride, as they rattled off seven points without reply to draw level.
Conor Downey kicked the equaliser, and Laois finally awoke from their slumber, as Donie Kingston got their first point for 20 minutes.
Micky Newman responded for Meath, and that left the teams level at 1-6 to 0-9 at the interval.
Laois got a bright start to the second half with a point from Evan O’Carroll, and a Gary Walsh free minutes later had them two ahead.
But things started to come apart after Evan O’Carroll picked up a second yellow card, and Meath made their extra man count from there to the end.
Laois only scored one point in the last 30 minutes of play, while Meath eventually turned the screw.
The Royal County scored the last eight points of the game to secure their league status for another year.
M Newman (0-4, 3 frees); S Tobin (f), G Reilly (0-3 each); D McDonagh (0-2); D Smith, M Burke, D Tobin, C O’Sullivan, A Tormey, C Downey (0-1 each).
N Donoher (1-1); E O’Carroll, G Walsh (f) (0-2 each); C Meredith (f), D Kingston (f), R Munnelly (f), J O’Loughlin (0-1 each)
G Brody; A Farrell, M Timmons, S Attride; D Strong, R Kehoe, G Dillon; B Quigley, K Meaney; C Meredith, J O’Loughlin, N Donoher; E O’Carroll, D Kingston, G Walsh. Subs: D O’Connor for Dillon (ht), N Murphy for Kehoe (52, inj), R Munnelly for Walsh (53), P Cahillane for Donoher (60), J Farrell for Meaney (62), D O’Reilly for Meredith (66)
C McHugh; D Keoghan, C McGill, M Burke; J McEntee, D Smith, D Tobin; H Rooney, P Harnan; G Reilly, C O’Sullivan, C Downey; D McDonagh, A Tormey, M Newman.
C O’Brien for D Tobin (ht, inj), D Lenihan for Tormey (47), S Tobin for Downey (59), A Douglas for Lenihan (69)
M McNally (Monaghan)