They will respect Cavan but if six-in-a-row chasing Dublin smell blood, Pat Spillane cannot see Dessie Farrell's men showing any mercy. 

Eight All-Ireland medals, nine All-Stars and a long post-playing career in the media - there isn't much that Spillane has not seen at this stage, but he was taken aback by the Blues' performance in the Leinster final.

On punditry duty for RTÉ Sport at a deserted Croke Park, the Kerry great was afforded the opportunity to see Dublin prepare and play at close quarters. 

It left an impression.

"That Saturday night was the first time I got a close look at the Dubs in action, a close up look at the Dubs in their pre-match warm-up and a close up look at the Dubs on the field and they blew me away," Spillane told the RTÉ GAA Podcast.

Dean Rock, Sean Bugler and Niall Scully scored the goals in a 21-point victory, but Dublin assaulted Meath from all angles and Spillane said the Meath players he met after full-time were 'dumbstruck'.

"We are looking at an awesome team. I met some of the Meath players after the game and they were caught for words, they were just dumbstruck, because they had been hit by a Blue Tsunami.

"They were like ragdolls being thrown around in the tide, they were helpless. Cavan will put up a great show and a good battle, but if they're losing by a single-digit score it will be a victory of sorts," said Spillane, who had tipped the Royals to give Dublin a proper test.

This is indicative of the gulf that many see growing between Dublin and the rest, as the debate over funding, population and other advantages continues to rage

While accepting that the issues of funding and venue equality need to be addressed, Spillane did not want the sheer quality of this team to be overlooked.

"I couldn't believe their work-rate, their energy, their attitude. From the start to the finish, they never let up and that is the sign of a great team. They won't disrespect Cavan, they didn't disrespect Meath, they pushed up on Meath kick-outs and they went at Meath.

"When great teams smell a weakness or great teams smell blood and The Dubs that night, in the eighth or ninth minute started to small blood and for the next 29 minutes it was awesome football - they scored 2-10 without reply."

Watch Dublin v Cavan (Saturday 5.30pm) and Mayo v Tipperary (Sunday 3.30pm)  live on RTÉ2 and the RTÉ Player, listen to live commentary on RTÉ Radio 1 and get live blogs, reports and reaction on RTÉ Sport Online and the RTÉ News app. Highlights on The Sunday Game, 9.30pm on RTÉ2.

Listen to the RTÉ GAA Podcast at Apple Podcasts, SoundcloudSpotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.