Na Fianna, Donal Burke
Na Fianna’s Donal Burke at the launch of the AIB Future Sparks Festival. Picture: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Young Dublin corner-forward Donal Burke is revelling in his increasingly regular starting role for the county hurlers, taking on free-taking responsibilities in the absence of Cuala man David Treacy so far in 2018.

The Na Fianna man hit 1-10 in the win over Laois at the weekend, guaranteeing the Dubs Division 1B status and a quarter final contest against Tipperary in the process, as a shaky campaign got back on track with a comfortable win. The 19-year-old DCU student is very much taking things in his stride.

“I’ve had a lot going on with DCU in the Fitzgibbon Cup and the Dublin stuff,” Burke tells the Dublin Gazette.

“I kind of take every game as it comes, I treat them all the same and don’t dwell on the county pressure. There are a lot of great players in the Fitzgibbon, and you pick up some different experiences in terms of training and ideas that you can bring back to the club and to Dublin.

“The club set up is a bit better now as the championship starts in April and I’ll get to spend a bit of time back at Na Fianna. I try to get back whenever I can, as it’s important to set an example and be around.”

Getting involved in the lives of teenagers is something that Burke will be taking further when he offers career guidance to sport-loving attendees at the AIB Future Sparks Festival at the RDS on Thursday, March 22, alongside Gordon D’Arcy, Colm Cooper, Sarah Keane and David Treacy. The panel will cover sporting topics ranging from the business of sport to career opportunities.

Burke is currently studying accountancy and admits: “it was quite easy for me, as I always knew that was what I wanted to do. I remember it being much harder for some people to make a choice.

“My brother is going through it now, and it’s not easy. I want to talk to people about how it’s not important to know everything before you choose a course. You can always change later.”

Nevertheless, glancing at his own future, Burke has observed how some of the Dublin football side have aligned accountancy roles with GAA-friendly firms, and he hopes to get involved.

“We’ll see what comes up,” he says of his graduation and future employment. “Some of them are very good about things like training and matches, and obviously hurling will be a factor.”

As for staying in Division 1B and keeping access to contests against the top county teams, Burke thinks it’s vital to the Dubs future.

“Playing competitive games and getting experience as a young team all the time is so important. I’m lucky right now as lectures aren’t the same as a part time job, so I can fit in time in the gym, and training, without the same strain of going to work on Monday morning.”