WHERE does one start when reviewing the intercounty scene in the season gone by in the Royal County - on or off the field?
With the juicy bits, of course! Unfortunately, most of the fireworks occurred outside the 'fence' as the county continued the practice of washing its dirty linen in public at various times throughout the year.
The failed heave on senior football team manager Seamus McEnaney, led by chairman Barney Allen, was of course the 'highlight' and must have come close to rivalling Love/Hate as the soap of the year.
Like most good soaps there was a sequence of events prior to the climax as Banty turned from 'good guy to bad guy' during the course of the Division 2 NFL campaign.
Opening wins over Monaghan and Westmeath left Meath in a lofty position, before the Royals losing sequence started against Kildare in round three. While there was much to admire about that display, it all began to unravel as the county suffered a second successive defeat at the hands of Galway in Pearse Park.
Meath knew they were in a relegation dogfight following a very disappointing performance at home to Derry in their next fixture, and disappointment turned to embarrassment following one of the worst ever displays in living memory from a Meath team at Healy Park, Omagh, when they could only manage five points against a rampant Tyrone.
That set up a winner-takes-all crunch tie against Louth in the final round, with third tier football in 2013 the prize for the losers.
Louth never had it so easy over their Royal neighbours and led by 12 points at the break. The Wee County eventually had nine to spare at the final whistle as Meath finished with 13 following the sendings-off of Brian Meade and Mark Ward.
After the game Banty issued a 'I won't go' cry and vowed to fight on, but that message differed sharply from the chairman's take of events as he sought to 'put the record straight' in respect to McEnaney following that defeat at the recent county convention.
Allen claimed that the manager actually offered his resignation following the defeat to Louth and refuted suggestions that Coiste na Mí tried to oust him at the time.
With Sean Boylan having been approached and seemingly willing to take over on an interim basis, chairman Allen is believed to have travelled to the stoney grey soil of Co Monaghan to seek the Banty's resignation.
However, Allen returned without Banty's head after receiving a less than courteous reply from the Corduff native, and then had go through the arduous task of attempting to relieve him of his post at county committee level.
That required a two/thirds majority, and with almost half of the executive voting against their own proposal to remove the manager it didn't come as a major surprise when the result of the ballot was announced - 43 in favour of Banty's removal and 31 against.
After failing to get the required number Allen said he had no problem working with Seamus McEnaney. ' We will be the best of friends,' Allen said.
Prior to the debate on McEnaney's future Allen was forced to admit that his choice of words in denying that Sean Boylan had resigned as Director of Football in the county as an April Fool's joke were 'not good'. The chairman was replying to a query from Eugene Comaskey who said he had heard that Boylan had resigned from his post.
The following day in the national media Boylan confirmed that he had resigned a number of weeks earlier.
Meath opened their Leinster campaign with former Tipperary manager John Evans and Trevor Giles added to the backroom staff and they introduced four championship debutants as well as bringing on Donal Keogan for injured captain Seamus Kenny.
All the newcomers performed solidly and the five-point win must have been a breath of fresh air for the manager.
That set up a quarter-final tie against lowly Carlow and Meath were fortunate to hold a threepoint advantage when Meath keeper David Gallagher committed a howler in the final moments, leaving JJ Smith with an easy task of rattling the net.
Amusingly, Seamus McEnaney said afterwards that it was the best result Meath could have got and he was 'delighted' with it. As so often happens the replay wasn't as close and Meath steamrolled their opponents 2-21 to 19 to set up a semi-final tilt with Kildare.
Meath were attempting to defeat the cock-a-hoop Lilywhites at the sixth time of asking, but weren't fancied to cause an upset. The Royals, though, produced one of the performances of the season and 1-5 without reply in the final quarter was enough to record a shock 1-17 to 1-11 win.
That set up a final clash with old foes and reigning All-Ireland champions Dublin, and the titleholders had three points to spare at the end of a game where they led by 10 at one stage. The fastfinishing challengers had them on the rack in the closing stages after out-scoring them 1-4 to 0-1 in the final nine minutes, but time eventually ran out on Meath.
Time also ran out on the sometimes controversial Banty after Meath bowed out of the championship race when well beaten by Laois in round four of the qualifiers.
A number of days following that defeat Banty announced that he was quitting, and left with his dignity intact. Another tumultuous year at intercounty senior level had come to an end.
The outstanding form of Graham Reilly and Brian Farrell throughout the year as well as the emergence of the brilliant Donal Keogan, Damien Carroll and Alan Forde were positives for the season.
Later in the year Mick O'Dowd (manager) along with selectors Sean Kelly and Trevor Giles were appointed to succeed Seamus McEnaney. The new management team face a massive challenge, but with a united county behind them and new personnel at the top table it should bring some badly needed stability.