St. Naul's dropped another two vital points in the bid for promotion as Gaeil Fhánada hit three goals to get a big win in Mountcharles.
St. Naul's 1-14
Gaeil Fhánada 3-10
The Fanad men were without Seamus Nanny Friel, who suffered a cruciate injury in the game last weekend against Naomh Brid, while Stephen Griffin was an absentee for the home side.
It's not often you see it but the first 30 minutes was really a game of two halves. St. Naul's were out of the blocks really fast and had 1-3 on the board inside eight minutes. Indeed they had a goal chance taken off the line in the opening attack.
John Rose accounted for 1-2 of that with Peadar Mogan getting the other point. The goal came on eight minutes when Daniel Brennan found Rose with a long fisted pass and the corner forward cut inside the defender and made no mistake.
Sean McElwaine eventually got Fanad on the scoreboard a minute later but that was cancelled by a great move by the home side which went the length of the field before Aidan Meehan was on hand to finish for a 1-4 to 0-1 lead.
But then Fanad really hit back and as they began to find their feet, they also found plenty of space up the middle of the St. Naul's defence. In a sweeping move, Johnny Friel was on the end of it to fire low to the corner of the net on 11 minutes. Michael Sweeney quickly added a point from an angle and Oisin Shiels left just a point in it with 15 minutes gone.
However, it was to be Shiels' last contribution as he went off injured with Davitt Walsh coming, and he also looked lively.
Stuart Johnston, on a typical forward drive, started and finished a St. Naul's point but a free from Niall Carr and a good effort from Michael Sweeney had Fanad level by the 25th minute.
Shane Conneely set up Johnston to put Nauls back in front but Brian McVeigh levelled from distance and Jimmy Coyle blazed wide on the stroke of half-time when clean through. Half-time St. Naul's 1-6, Gaeil Fhánada 1-6
Fanad lost Brian McVeigh to a black card at the start of the second half as Daniel Brennan edged St. Naul's back in front from a free.
But points from Seamus Coshia Friel and Jimmy Coyle saw the Fanad men with the advantage.
John Rose levelled and St. Naul's had a good period with Shane Conneely very much to the fore. He set up Daniel Brennan who's effort was saved for a '45', which was taken short and Stuart Johnston pointed.
Barry Griffin, Johnston again and substitute James Flynn added points as St. Naul's opened up a four point gap, 1-12 to 1-8.
But Fanad hit back with Michael Sweeney very much to the fore, especially in the second half. The big midfielder powered through and even though the chance seemed to be gone when he lost possession, he fired home on the ground to cut the lead to a point.
Then on 54 minutes, the big turning point when a Seamus Friel free dropped short but was fumbled by Gavin Mulreaney and Alan McAteer was in to slide home a third goal.
Michael Sweeney then set up Mark Friel with a lovely pass. Cathal Lowther hit back but Sweeney made another point for Niall Carr.
All St. Naul's could get in the final minutes was a Barry Griffin point when they needed a goal to get a draw as darkness fell.
ST. NAUL'S: Gavin Mulreaney; Conor McBrearty, Edward Kane, Conor Gavigan; Stuart Johnston (0-4), Peadar Mogan (0-1), Martin Breslin; Barry Griffin (0-2), Brendan McCole; Aidan Meehan (0-1), Cathal Lowther (0-1), Shane Conneely; John Rose (1-3), Daniel Brennan (0-1,f) Caolan Gaffney. Subs., James Flynn (0-1) for Gaffney 43.
GAEIL FHÁNADA: Brendan Friel; Frank Sweeney, Jimmy Coyle (0-1), Odhran Shiels; Eoghan Carr, James Gallagher, Paddy Heraghty; Michael Sweeney (1-2), Sean McElwaine (0-1); Johnny Friel (1-0), Mark Friel (0-1), Brian McVeigh (0-1); Niall Carr (0-2,1f), Seamus Coshia Friel (0-1,f), Oisin Shiels (0-1). Subs., Davitt Walsh for O Shiels 16; Alan McAteer (1-0) for S McElwaine 23; Oisin McFadden for McVeigh 32 (bcard).
REFEREE: Val Murray (Aodh Ruadh)