Donegal got out of jail in Sean MacCumhaill Park as Michael Murphy landed the equaliser with the last kick of the game to gain a share of the spoils.
Trailing by a point with time up, Donegal were awarded a free in some 25m from goal and close to the sideline. Up stepped Michael Murphy to hit an equaliser that they scarcely deserved
Meath dominated most of the opening half and even though they were headed when Colm McFadden won and pointed a free with 18 minutes left, they twice went back in front and it seemed when half-time substitute Graham Reilly edged them in front 1-12 to 1-11 with four minutes left, they were going to take both league points.
But then, not for the first time, Michael Murphy, became Donegal’s saviour. In fairness Donegal did have the better of the chances in the second half, creating two goal chances - Murphy denied by a goalline clearance and Colm McFadden with a timely block. They also hit the upright on two occasions in the second half.
Donegal also had Ryan McHugh black carded in the 13th minute of the second half, being replaced by Karl Lacey.
POOR OPENING QUARTER
At the start it took Donegal a long time to settle with Meath completely dominating affairs in the opening quarter.
Michael Murphy had given them the first score from a free but by the 19th minute Meath were 0-6 to 0-1 ahead with midfielder Andrew Tormey (2) and corner forward Michael Newman converting two long range frees, one from outside the 45m line almost on the sideline.
It looked as if Donegal were back in the contest when Frank McGlynn lobbed Patrick O’Rourke in the 27th minute but almost immediately Meath swept forward and Newman was on the end of the move to fire low past Paul Durcan.
Before half-time Christy Toye and Michael Murphy added points to leave two adrift at the break, 1-7 to 1-5.
The final result was a wake-up call for Donegal, who have sauntered through the league so far. There was a lack of urgency in the opening half and their tactics, especially from kick-outs just wasn’t working.
That they escaped with a point will be a positive to take from the game, but there were plenty of things that they need to work on.
Their finishing was poor some bad wides and their pass completion left a lot to be desired.
Donegal: Paul Durcan; Eamon McGee, Neil McGee, Frank McGlynn (1-0); R McHugh, Leo McLoone, Anthony Thompson; Rory Kavanagh, Martin McElhinney; Mark McHugh, Christy Toye (0-2), Odhran MacNiallais; Colm McFadden (0-3,2f), Michael Murphy (0-6,6f), Dermot Molloy (0-1). Subs., Neil Gallagher for Kavanagh; Darach O’Connor for Molloy, both 43; Karl Lacey for R McHugh, black card 48; David Walsh for MacNiallais 56
Meath: Patrick O’Rourke; Donal Keogan, Kevin Reilly, Mickey Burke; Sean Curran, Bryan Menton, Eoghan Harrington; Andrew Tormey (0-2), Shane O’Rourke (0-1,f); Donncha Tobin, Damien Carroll (0-1), Brian McMahon (0-1); Dalton McDonagh (0-1), Stephen Bray, Micheal Newman (1-4,3f). Subs., Graham Reilly (0-1) for Bray; Padraic Harnan for Tobin, both ht; Seamus Kenny for Curran; Eamon Wallace (0-1) for McMahon, both 51; Mark O’Sullivan for Tormey 62; D Bray for Menton 68.
Referee: Padraig Hughes (Armagh)