A Galway man who refused to wear a mask on a New York-bound flight from Dublin before throwing a can at another passenger faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of assault, according to the US Justice Department. 

Shane McInerney, 29, allegedly refused to wear a face mask on a Delta Airlines flight between Dublin and New York on January 7, despite being asked several times to do so by the flight crew. 

McInerney then allegedly threw a beverage can, hitting another passenger on the head, according to a criminal complaint unsealed on Friday. 

Court documents also state that McInerney had an exchange with the flight's captain while he was on a break. 

The Galway native allegedly placed his own cap on the captain's head twice, while he also placed his fist near the captain's face and said "don't touch me". 

McInerney is further accused of pulling his pants down and exposing his buttocks to a flight attendant during the flight. 

A spokesperson for the US District Attorney's office said that McInerney is facing a felony charge of intentionally assaulting and intimidating a member of a flight crew and faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted. 

He had his initial appearance in Brooklyn Federal Court on January 14 and has been released on a $20,000 bond. 

He remains in the US as a condition of his bond. 

The Daily Mail reports that McInerney was flying to the US to take up a job as a soccer coach in Daytona, Florida. 

His attorney Benjamin Zev Yaster declined to comment on the allegations against his client.