Wasteful Derry shot 13 wides and meandered through much of this game.
They were behind 0-10 to 0-05 at half time, then 1-14 to 0-07 midway through the second half, before staging a stirring riposte that brought them to within one score of the visitors.
However their lack of accuracy in front of the posts came back to haunt them, as Meath scored a late point to ensure a deserved victory.
By the midpoint of the first half, Meath had used the wind advantage to establish a 0-05 to 0-01 lead before two excellent points from Eugene McGuckin cut the lead to 0-05 to 0-03.
However with team captain Neil Hackett (0-4) and Joey Keena (0-3) punishing slack Derry defence, Meath took a 0-10 to 0-05 lead to the break, Sean McNicholl (0-2) and Kevin Hinphey the other first half scorers for Derry.
Hackett, from a free, and Keena extended the Meath lead, the Derry defence opened up by a crossfield pass from the right by Nicky Horan to Barry Slevin in the 41st minute and the corner forward crashed the ball to the net.
Derry faced the possibility of a drubbing but a dreadful error by Meath keeper Stephen Quinn gifted Gareth O’Kane a 52nd minute goal.
Derry showed plenty of determination in the final quarter but they lacked a cutting edge to get the goal they needed to exert pressure on the visitors who ran out deserving four point winners.
Derry scorers: Gareth O’Kane 1-00, Ruairi Convery 0-03, Oisin McCloskey 0-03, 0-02 frees, Kevin Hinphey 0-02, Eugene McGuckin 0-02, Sean McNicholl 0-02, Colm Murphy 0-01.