Luke McNicholas, a Mayo-born goalkeeper, has signed with Wrexham AFC, the Welsh football club famously co-owned by Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney.
McNicholas, 23, joins on a short-term contract from League of Ireland Premier Division side Sligo Rovers to bolster Wrexham’s goalkeeping options, the club confirmed on Friday, August 11.
Wrexham have the option to sign the player permanently in January.
McNicholas, who has represented Ireland at the Under-18 level, and has also spent time away on loan with Finn Harps and Cliftonville.
This season, he has played 26 matches for the Bit O’ Red, who currently sit seventh in the Irish top flight with ten games remaining.
On signing, McNicholas said: “I’m absolutely buzzing to be here and can’t wait to get started. The experience in the goalkeeping department at Wrexham is second to none.
“I’ve got so much to learn from all of them, and from Aidan Davison, so I know I’m going to soak it all in.”
Wrexham AFC manager Phil Parkinson said: “I’m delighted to sign Luke. He’s a good, young goalkeeper with real potential and we’re looking forward to working with him.”
Welcome to Wrexham, Luke McNicholas!
Read more about our latest arrival 🤝
🔴⚪ #WxmAFC— Wrexham AFC (@Wrexham_AFC) August 11, 2023
Sligo Rovers wished McNicholas "all the best" for the coming months.
We can confirm that goalkeeper Luke McNicholas has today joined Wrexham AFC initially on a short loan deal until January with an option to then make the move permanent.August 11, 2023
The signing comes a week after Wrexham confirmed it had signed Derry native James McClean.
The two Irish soccer players join Kilkenny native Thomas O'Connor, Limerick native Anthony Forde, Liam McAlinden (who was born in England but represents Ireland through his parents,) and Cork native Eoghan O'Connell on the Wrexham squad.
Earlier this year, club co-owner Ryan Reynolds had difficulty pronouncing O'Connell's classic Irish name and turned to fellow club owner Rob McElhenney for guidance:
Incoming… pic.twitter.com/tZOmtY81rV— Rob McElhenney (@RMcElhenney) January 31, 2023
Wrexham has seen a revival of fortunes since Reynolds and McElhenney completed their takeover in 2021.
Although Wrexham is based in Wales, the club competes in the English soccer leagues and recently gained promotion to League Two, the fourth division in the English pyramid.
It has been 15 years since Wrexham last played at such a high level and the club recently competed in the National League, part of a group of leagues known as non-league. The club's promotion last May saw it return to the Football League, a famous competition consisting of three separate divisions and 72 clubs.
Reynolds and McElhenney have invested heavily in Wrexham, which is the third-oldest club in English soccer.
The two actors have provided manager Phil Parkinson with a significant war chest for new signings, leading to the acquisition of marquee signings such as Paul Mullin and James McClean. Reynolds and McElhenney have also allocated funds for the redevelopment of the Racecourse Stadium, Wrexham's home ground.
The pair have documented their takeover of Wrexham AFC in the series "Welcome to Wrexham."