Antrim recovered from a slow start to get their Joe McDonagh campaign off to a winning start at Meath's expense in Pairc Tailteann today.
A Nigel Elliott hat-trick was the highlight of an impressive team display as the Terence McNaughton/Dominic McKinley managed side enjoyed an emphatic 5-25 to 2-18 victory.
A runaway Antrim success didn't look likely early on as they conceded goals to Gavin McGowan and Alan Douglas in the 5th and 8th minutes respectively but that proved to be as good as it got for manager Nick Fitzgerald and his Meath players.
The visitors found their rhythm shortly afterwards and midfielder Elliott pounced for the first of his three goals in the 20th minute.
Antrim's Conor McKinley and Michael Armstrong celebrate after the final whistle. ©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo.
That left the Ulster outfit 1-8 to 2-8 in arrears and, with momentum very much on their side at that stage, they went on to take a 1-14 to 2-8 advantage into the break.
Eoghan Campbell extended their lead with the first point of the second-half and further goals from Conor Johnston and Elliott (2) left them out of sight (4-18 to 2-10) by the 47th minute.
Centre-forward Johnston then rubbed salt into Royal County wounds when converting a penalty in stoppage time.
Antrim - R Elliott; D Kearney, J Dillon, R McCambridge; P Burke, C McKinley, J Maskey (0-2); N Elliott (3-2), S McCrory (0-3); C Carson (0-1), C Johnston (2-4, 1-0pen), N McManus (0-8, 6f); D McKinley (0-2), M Armstrong (0-1), E Campbell (0-1). Subs: C McCann (0-1) for C Carson, J McNaughton for E Campbell, S Rooney for D Kearney, M Donnelly for R McCambridge, E O'Neill for C McKinley.
Meath - S McGann; N Weir, S Geraghty, S Morris; J Keena, D Healy, S Brennan; K Keoghan, A Gannon; J Kelly, C McCabe (0-1), E O Donnchadha; A Douglas (1-1), G McGowan (1-2), J Regan (0-12, 0-8f, 0-2'65). Subs: P Conneely (0-1) for G McGowan, S Quigley (0-1) for A Gannon, K Keena for E O Donnchadha, C O Mealoid for C McCabe.
Referee - C McAllister.Tweet