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'mooning' Irish footballer facing up to 20 years in US prison accused of disrupting flight

It is alleged Shane McInerney 'mooned' cabin crew, threw cans at passenger and refused to wear mask

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Shane McInerney

Shane McInerney

Shane McInerney

THIS is the former professional footballer from Galway facing up to 20 years in prison in the US after he allegedly caused various disturbances on a flight from Dublin to New York.

He is also accused of mooning cabin crew, throwing cans at a passenger and refusing to wear a mask.

Shane McInerney (29), from Ballinasloe, was arrested on arrival in New York after allegedly causing “numerous disturbances” on a Delta flight from Dublin to JFK International Airport on January 7.

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.

In recent months he switched sports and started playing American football for a college team and was tipped as a potential future NFL player.

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McInerney has recently switched to American football

McInerney has recently switched to American football

McInerney has recently switched to American football

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.”

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 last week and was released on bond. His lawyer, Benjamin Yaster, declined to comment.

In a statement, Delta said the airline “has zero tolerance for unruly behaviour at our airports and aboard our aircraft as nothing is more important that the safety of our people and our customers”.

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.

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

He also told the pilot not to touch him and put his fist near the pilot’s face, according to the complaint.

The flight crew considered diverting the plane to a different airport during the journey to remove McInerney before continuing to New York, the complaint alleged.

As the plane made its final approach to JFK, McInerney allegedly refused to stay in his seat, instead standing in the aisle. Authorities took him into custody upon landing.

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Shane McInerney

Shane McInerney

Shane McInerney

After his release from custody he posted a picture on social media enjoying a drink in Daytona Beach in Florida.

He wrote: “Great to be back in the sunshine state. Blessed to call this place home for the next few months.”

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

A law enforcement source told the Sunday World the defendant’s destination was Florida where he was taking a job teaching soccer at an academy.

American football training centre 4thDown University tweeted last week that McInerney was also going to be training with them for the next few months.

“Welcoming @McinerneyShane to Daytona to train for a few months McInerney, a former pro soccer player & ‘23 @nfl draft prospect, kicked for @PSCFootball.”

McInerney previously played football as a schoolboy international for Ireland and went on to play professional football for low-level teams in the US, Sweden and Australia.

In recent years he has been working as a football coach.

Last month he gave an interview to the Irish Daily Star where he said he knew he was never going to play in the Premier League so turned his attention to American football during lockdown.

He became a kicker for Peru College’s American Football team in Nebraska where he had a successful season last year and said he hoped to play in the NFL next year.

He posted on social media at the end of last month about how he looking forward to see what would happen in his sporting career this year.

“Just a random idea to be a kicker for American football during lockdown in Ireland less than a year ago, where so many doubted me. Always believe in yourself and trust your own instinct. Enjoying this crazy journey - excited to see what’s in store for 2022.”

McInerney comes from a sporting family. He is a cousin of Galway hurler Gearoid McInerney and nephew of All-Ireland winning hurler Gerard McInerney.

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