Dublin hurler Riain McBride in attendance at the announcement of the 10th year of DCU Business School and GPA scholarships. Picture: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Rian McBride is certainly a busy buachaill at the moment. Recently graduated from a degree in engineering, the St Vincent’s clubman is now embarking on a Masters at DCU Business School, after receiving one of the DCU Business School/GPA Full-time Masters scholarships last week.

And that’s just the off-field stuff. Tonight (Thursday) McBride and his DCU hurling team-mates aim for back-to-back Division 1 Higher Education Senior Hurling league titles, having picked up their first title 12 months ago.

UCC are once again their opponents in the decider, which takes place in IT Carlow at 7.30pm.

“We went to extra-time in our semi-final,” McBride told Dublin Gazette.

“We won it last year, and I think it’s the first competition that our Fitzgibbon Cup team has won ever.

“Three years ago, in my first year on the team, we hadn’t even won a game until my first year in!

“To see what has happened since is mainly down to Paul O’Brien, Eoin Roche and Mick Weir – any of those lads and what they have done for hurling in the college.”

DCU took honours last year and subsequently did well in the Fitzgibbon Cup. McBride says hurling has really come full circle in recent years.

“When I was in sixth year, UCD would have been the main college for hurling. But since I’ve come here there’s been a real emphasis put on hurling.

“I remember Eoghan O’Donnell talking about hurling in DCU being ‘the dog-times’.

“They were in Division 2 six years ago. In the space of a year we had won a [Fitzgibbon Cup] game and were in a Fitzgibbon final.

“It’s about starting from the roots, it’s not like they are getting people in and trying to do it quick. It’s an academics college, with a sporting edge to it.” McBride is delighted to have picked up the scholarship.

“I’m just delighted that I’ve got to continue on,” he said. “I did my undergrad here for four years, and its a brilliant set-up.

“Paul O’Brien in the GAA office helps out with anything you need, and that’s more-so in terms of yourself. It’s not even based on hurling, it’s based on what he can do for you to enjoy a bit more, and that’s probably the main thing about sport in DCU. When you have that sort of support it’s a lot easier to enjoy hurling.”

Dublin’s 2020 campaign begins pre-Christmas, with Mattie Kenny’s charges set to face Laois in the first round of the Walsh Cup at Parnell Park on December 8.

McBride says it’s a great set-up to be involved in.

“For us moving forward we are literally just focussing on ourselves, and trying to develop ourselves.

“Mattie has created something that I have never been involved in before.

“It’s really professional and I am just delighted to be a part of it.

“Hopefully we can push on this year, especially in terms of Leinster. We want to push onto a Leinster Final and I think we can do that.”

Laois rose from winning the Joe McDonagh Cup to beating Dublin in a qualifer this Summer, before rattling subsequent All-Ireland Champions Tipperary at the quarter-final stage.

McBride says their inclusion adds to an already great mix in Leinster, and that the 2020 provincial Championship will be hotly contested.

“The League is changing this year as well also, and I think everything is more competitive and getting more games in,” he said.

“Colleges games and Club Championships are all being pushed forward over the next while, so it’s the concept of getting in games early, and then getting on to county as early as possible, and trying to form a team, and a bond more-so.”