QUANTITY before quality is certainly the name of the game as far as the Meath club scene is concerned at present.
No relegation from either the senior or intermediate grades during the year was a major contributor to the poor fare on offer in many of the matches, particularly in the top tier.
Once more 17 teams went to post for the Keegan Cup and that will rise to 18 for the year ahead when intermediate champions Na Fianna step up to the top grade.
The lack of quality was borne out by the poor showing of the county standard-bearers in the provincial championship, with senior winners Navan O'Mahony's defeated by opposition from Longford and Na Fianna losing out to Louth champions O'Connell's.
Apart from perennial favourites O'Mahony's - who bridged a four-year gap by taking the title for the 18th time - the so-called satellite towns, with their vast populations, continue to make strides at the expense of their country cousins, many of whom are struggling to field teams, let along challenge for honours.
One of those satellite towns, Donaghmore/ Ashbourne, reached the penultimate stage for the second successive year, but they must be extremely disappointed that the Division 1 league crown and not the Keegan Cup was all they had to show for their efforts.
The Dublin border club have only themselves to blame for that semi-final defeat to the eventual winners as the game was there for the taking, but they didn't have the 'liathróidí' when the match was there to be won.
Another club boosted in numbers during the Celtic Tiger years was Ratoath. They captured the junior crown at the expense of Ashbourne's second string, and will be expected to make further ground in the not too distant future.
There was no denying, though, that Navan O'Mahony's fully deserved their senior title as they comfortably overcame the only other unbeaten team of the campaign, Wolfe Tones, in impressive style.
The Navan men lined out for most of the campaign without four of their most influential players - Kevin Reilly, Mark Ward, Cormac McGuinness and Barry Regan - all of whom were out injured for lengthy spells. And while their talent has never been in doubt, O'Mahonys added a mental toughness to their game this year, something which played a big part in them getting over the finishing line.
Full credit also to vanquished finalists Tones who again defied the odds with their passion and relentless hunger throughout the campaign.
A feature of this year's SFC was the number of veterans who shone throughout the campaign. There were few if any better players at club level than O'Mahony's full back Niall McKeigue who had an outstanding year. The likes of Ciaran and Niall McLoughlin and Darren McGrath shone for Wolfe Tones, while other veterans to 'turn back the clock' included Donal Curtis (Rathkenny), Cormac Sullivan (St Patrick's), Hank Traynor (Simonstown) and Trevor Giles (Skryne).
Last year's champions Summerhill bowed out at the quarter-final stage, while runners-up Dunshaughlin finished bottom of their group with a single point from five outings.
St Patrick's showed some great form at times but produced a very disappointing showing in the quarter-final exit to Tones. Duleek/ Bellewstown failed to win a championship game but recorded draws against Nobber and Moynalvey.
On the evidence of this year's form, Nobber, Rathkenny, Duleek/Bellewstown and Oldcastle could all struggle as they attempt to avoid the relegation trap-door which will reopen in 2013.
Na Fianna were worthy IFC winners, beating Trim in a final that was a one-sided affair until the town team staged a commendable second-half revival.
East Meath outfit St Colmcille's again failed to make an impression, while Syddan - with former Meath manager Eamonn O'Brien at the helm - never produced a serious challenge.
Slane's tale of woe continued in the Junior A ranks, as well as Division 4 of the league, and they were forced to withdraw from both without completing their full programme of matches. They eventually dropped down to the Junior B ranks after losing a relegation decider to Moylagh.
Another east Meath club, St Mary's, reached the Junior B decider but were out-pointed by a more experienced Dunshaughlin.