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Over the moon Irish NFL hopeful accused of 'exposing buttocks' on US flight gets new contract

Galway footballer Shane McInerney also allegedly refused to wear a mask on the New York flight and threw cans at a passenger

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Shane McInerney has been accused of interfering with a flight crew after his trip to New York

Shane McInerney has been accused of interfering with a flight crew after his trip to New York

Shane McInerney has been accused of interfering with a flight crew after his trip to New York

An Irishman who is facing prison in the US for 'mooning' on a flight has signed for a new American football team while his lawyers engage in plea negotiations with authorities.

Shane McInerney (29), from Ballinasloe, who hopes to make it as a kicker in the NFL, is not letting his January arrest get in the way of his ambitions.

He was arrested on arrival in New York after allegedly causing "numerous disturbances" on a Delta flight from Dublin to JFK Airport on January 7, including mooning cabin crew, throwing cans at a passenger and refusing to wear a mask.

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Shane McInerney

Shane McInerney

Shane McInerney

The Sunday World has learned this week that documents have been filed in the US stating that the parties are involved in plea negotiations.

In the US legal system, plea negotiations are standard when the government has a strong case.

If both sides come to an agreement in the negotiations, the accused usually pleads guilty to a lesser crime than they were originally charged with and gets a reduced sentence compared to if they were to be found guilty after a trial.

Entering into plea negotiations is not an admission of guilt.

The next court date is listed for May 16.

McInerney, who played for the Ireland international schoolboys football team, has lived in various parts of the world, playing professional football and working as a coach.

Last year he switched sports and started playing American football for Peru State college team in Nebraska and was tipped as a potential future NFL player.

He has now signed for Ottawa University in Arizona.

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He posted pictures of himself signing his new contract and wrote: "Thank you Peru State for everything, wish the coaches and players nothing but the best going forward. Happy to announce I've signed for Ottawa University in Arizona - can't wait to get to work."

While McInerney's LinkedIn profile says he left Peru State this month, a spokesman for the college told the Sunday World that he left last year before his arrest.

According to a federal complaint filed in the Eastern District of New York, McInerney caused numerous disturbances throughout the flight.

The legal papers read: "During the approximately eight-hour flight, the defendant repeatedly refused to wear a face mask despite being asked dozens of times by flight crew personnel."

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McInerney has been tipped as a future NFL star

McInerney has been tipped as a future NFL star

McInerney has been tipped as a future NFL star

McInerney has been charged with interfering with flight crew, a felony that carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. He made a court appearance earlier this year and was released on bond.

According to the complaint, McInerney went to first class to remonstrate with cabin crew.

"The defendant, who had an economy class seat, walked to the Delta One class section of the airplane; complained about his food to one of the flight attendants and - in the process of being escorted back to his seat - pulled down his pants and underwear and exposed his buttocks to the individual," the complaint said.

The pilot attempted to speak with McInerney, the complaint said, at which point he put his cap on the pilot's head.

McInerney did not respond to a request for comment when the Sunday World contacted him.

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