Cahal Carvill

Cahal Carvill: Hurling cryptocurrency

BACK in 1929 Joe Kennedy, the father of future American President John F. Kennedy, sat down to get his shoes buffed outside a well-heeled investment bank in New York. As he sat there thumbing through the newspaper the shoeshine boy started giving Joe tips on stocks and shares as well as financial advice on the markets.

It was at this stage that Joe realised the US was at the end of its bull market and that morning he went and sold out all of his positions and started to short the market. Some months later the Wall Street Crash collapsed the New York Stock Exchange resulting in the Great Depression that destroyed the American economy and lasted until the outbreak of the Second World War.

Ever since, the shoeshine boy has become a metaphor for “time to get out”; for the end of the mania phase in which everyone, even the shoeshine boy, wants in.


Cryptocurrency is this generation’s Wall Street investments, penny stocks, boom and real estate speculation. When Elon Musk can flatten the market with one tweet you should know that this form of unregulated currency is not an investment opportunity that holds any form of security.

Outside of any other concerns, the environmental impact of ‘mining’ Bitcoin or Dogecoin etc, is catastrophic. Mining is the process in which a Bitcoin is awarded to a computer that solves a complex series of algorithms, a process which is a deeply energy-intensive. The amount of electricity used to mine Bitcoin, according to Benjamin Jones, a professor of economics at the University of New Mexico who has researched Bitcoin’s environmental impact, “has historically been more than the electricity used by entire countries, like Ireland.”

Economics, like sport, is not circular. It is ever changing and evolving with new innovation, new ways of training, new tactics.

Last Sunday John Kiely hit out at the number of frees now being awarded after he witnessed his side’s six-point loss to Galway. Evan Nilan hit 14 points from frees for the Galway men inflicting the first defeat on Kiely’s Limerick since 2019, when Kilkenny bested them in the All-Ireland semi-final.

Kiely stated after the game that, “I think it is a worry for the game as much as it is a worry for us,” when questioned about whether the free count was a worry for his side.

He went on to say that “Having seen two games now, I’d have major concerns as to where we are at in this. It does appear that the game has changed in the last four months whilst we’ve all been at home and somebody has decided to take the tackle out of the game. I’d love to know who they were and when that was decided.”

He went on that, “We had nobody here watching the game today and in 12 months’ time, we are not going to have anybody here watching if it’s 36 frees they are going to be sitting down to watch and however number of restarts – maybe 60!”

In amongst this tirade we should not forget, Kiely is a very smart man and a great tactician.

Back in February this year Elon Musk one of the world’s richest men, endorsed Bitcoin, putting £1.5 billion in to the ‘currency’ – he also stated that Tesla would be accepting Bitcoin as payment for his Tesla, clean electric cars. This put the price of Bitcoin in to overdrive, pushing it over $63,000.

Kiely has over the past number of years created a hurling team down in Limerick full of players with the physique of a Greek God; players who are built like a brick wall and can move like a 200-metre sprinter. No wonder Munster rugby are tearing their hair out at the growth and success of hurling in Limerick.

Kiely’s men are the high kings of the physical game and thrive on wearing opposition teams down for 70 minutes with physicality, every tackle is like a car crash for the opposing player. The Limerick boys can hurl, no doubt about it but the cornerstone of their game is physicality.

The fact is when the rules of the game are not enforced, it suits them down to the ground. The referee’s job however isn’t that of a circus master, only there to ensure everyone’s entertained, it is to implement the rules.

This month Elon Musk tweeted criticising the environmental impacts of Bitcoin while stating that his company would no longer be accepting the currency as payment for Tesla vehicles. This one tweet sent the currency’s value tumbling below $43,000. Musk then indicated in a later tweet that Tesla’s position in Bitcoin may no longer be what it once was. It appears that Musk has jacked up the price through his initial investment, and then dumped the share quietly in the background. Bobby Axelrod smart.

Kiely himself is also playing three-dimensional chess, he understands that for Limerick to win the All-Ireland this year, whistle-happy referees are not his friend, he needs a referee that will ‘let it go’ and who takes a laissez faire approach to the rules.

If the player breaks three tackles and take 20 steps in the process, no problem as long as it keeps the game flowing, if a full-back mows down the full-forward, let it go, keep the game flowing. This would be the ideal outcome for Limerick and their All-Ireland aspirations.

Kiely in his tirade last week has ensured that the next day out against Waterford the referee is going to be on his best behaviour and in doing so will be more reluctant to blow frees, intimidated in the press in to letting the game go for fear of Kiely’s wrath.

In 10 years’ time, bitcoin may no longer exist, and those proponents of the cryptocurrency, will be licking their wounds much like those that listened to the shoe shineboy back in the roaring ‘20s.

Based on the data and the small sample size (two rounds of the National League) hurling is not in crisis, it will still be around in 10 years’ time and the game will still be manly and as beautiful as ever.

Kiely is a wily operator and no doubt this weekend, he will see some return the comments he invested in last weekend. By the end of the year Bitcoin may be worth less than a pint in a Belfast bar but Limerick will come out on top once again in the hunt for Liam.

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