From spring gloom to midsummer optimism. A part summation of where the Cork footballers are at so far this year.

The Rebels are 70 minutes away from a place in the Super 8s, with Laois standing between them and that spot in the expanded quarter-finals.

After running Kerry close in the Munster final, Cork should have an extra pep in their step as they head to Semple Stadium.

Like any team worth their salt, they will also feel that with more composure they could have toppled the Kingdom a fortnight ago.

So what has happened since that dark Sunday in March when Cork slipped down to the league's third tier?

Nothing much, according to goalkeeper Mark White, who feels the unit were always capable of producing something a whole lot better.

Speaking to RTÉ's GAA correspondent Brian Carthy, the netminder said: "The players knew the talent within the group and how hard we were working in training. For some reason, we just weren't transferring it onto the pitch.

Kerry's Sean O'Shea and Kevin Flahive from the recent Munster final

"After the league we knuckled down, worked really hard, you could sense the mood was changing. We put in a performance against Kerry, but it's a match we could have won."

The perception out there is that Cork could have got a harder Round 4 qualifier opponent in the shape of Tyrone and Mayo.

That said, the Clonakilty native believes the O'Moore County will be more than a handful on Saturday evening.

"Every team their deserves their spot. We weren't hoping for any team over another; every team is going to be a challenge.

"Looking at Laois, we have identified their point-taking ability from long range. They have the Kingston brothers inside and their back line is well able to carry ball as well. We have to try and shut them down and try and put together a performance ourselves." 

There is live coverage of all of this weekend's big games on RTÉ online and the News Now App. There will be live commentary and updates on all the matches on Saturday Sport and Sunday Sport on RTÉ Radio 1. There is live coverage of Clare-Meath on RTÉ 2 television on Sunday from 1.20pm with full highlights of all the action on The Sunday Game from 9.30pm on RTÉ 2.