Ciarán Whelan expects Dublin to comfortably advance to the All-Ireland football semi-finals, but says questions remain whether the depth is in place to cope in adversity.

Dessie Farrell's side are raging favourites to sweep aside a Cork side on Saturday evening that have surprised plenty in reaching the last eight.

With Dublin and Kerry on the same side of the draw, many are predicting the old rivals will collide in a humdinger of a semi-final on 10 July, though the Kingdom's clash with Mayo will be a much tighter affair.

After relinquishing Sam Maguire at the penultimate stage last year and suffering relegation after a number of below-par performances in the league, Whelan says the improvement against Kildare in the Leinster final, where the Dublin attack sparkled in plundering five first-half goals was most pleasing.

The two-time All-Star however says questions remain over the options Farrell has at his disposal. When Cork and Dublin last met in the championship, the Dubs introduced Dean Rock, Paddy Small, Jonny Cooper, Kevin McManamon, Eoin Murchan and James McCarthy on their way to a 13-point win three years ago.

Dublin hurler Eoghan O'Donnell has been a surprise addition to the football panel

Against Kildare last time out, Niall Scully, Cian Murphy, Aaron Byrne, Jonny Cooper and Brian O'Leary were the men called into action.

"They are probably lacking a bit of depth defensively," he told the RTÉ GAA podcast. "Eoghan O’Donnell was brought in for a particular reason because they have a few injuries

"This is in no way building Kerry up, but you look at the bench, and the depth Kerry now have compared to Dublin.

"If Dublin are asked that question with 10, 15 minutes to go, and momentum goes against them in that last quarter, maybe concede a goal like they did in 2019 with Killian Spillane, have they the guys that can come in and hold the composure within the team and close out the game?

"That’s the big question we won’t know until they are in that position."

Former Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice outlined just how difficult it was to face Dublin in their pomp given the artillery on the bench, and indeed forced management to counter those changes in personnel with the game going down the stretch.

Kevin McManamon breaking Kerry hearts in the 2013 All-Ireland semi-final

"I think the (Dublin) bench now is built to see out a match that they are ahead going into the final quarter, see the game out, rather than have the likes of Kevin McManamon and Michael Darragh Macauley and these fellas that could go chase games for you.

"We used have to plan for the likes of Kevin McManamon and the others coming off the bench.

"When they would come in, we would have to react with possibly a sub to pick those up. You were reacting to them rather than being proactive."

While neither man expects the Rebels to advance, the defence-first approach that was relatively successful for 50 minutes against Kerry is the most obvious starting point in John Cleary’s game plan.

"Cork have a template from that (Kerry) game, a policy of containment. Looking at that Leinster final, it was a joy to watch, but it was probably a joy to play as well.

Cork defenders swarm around David Clifford in this year's Munster clash

"Cork certainly certainly need to station at least one, if not two bodies around the D to take away those kick passes and force Dublin to go back to the other game and frustrate them.

Whelan expects the Dubs to emerge unscathed at GAA HQ on Saturday evening, whether they maintain the policy of keeping their inside line of Dean Rock, Cormac Costello and Con O’Callaghan stationed close to the end line and play direct, or return to a more possession-based strategy to probe for opening.

"You got to think that Dublin are going to win this with a bit of comfort. Even psychologically for them, even just coming into Croke Park against this Dublin team I think is just going to be beyond them."

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Follow the All-Ireland Football Championship quarter-finals on Sunday, Galway v Armagh (1.45pm) and Kerry v Mayo (4pm), via our live blog on or on the RTÉ News app. Watch live coverage on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player commencing at 1.15pm with live radio commentary on RTÉ Radio 1

Follow the All-Ireland Football Championship quarter-finals on Saturday, Derry v Clare (3.45pm) and Dublin v Cork (6pm), via our live blog on or on the RTÉ News app. Listen to live radio commentary on RTÉ Radio 1