Karen Guthrie steered Donegal ladies to victory against Westmeath as Maxi Curran's side returned to winning ways in Letterkenny and sealed their place in the Lidl NFL Division 1 semi-finals.

Westmeath opened the scoring with a Leanne Slevin free in the ninth minute, while Fiona Claffey continued the visitors impressive start a minute later with a point from play.

Donegal had to wait until the 15th minute for their opening score – Guthrie holding off two tacklers before tapping over.

Two minutes later a goal chance presented itself to Donegal as Niamh Hegarty's blocked effort fell to Nicole McLaughlin, but her shot didn't have the power to beat Lauren McCormack.

Westmeath had a goal chance of their own when Fiona Claffey broke through but mis-controlled the ball before she could finish. When her pass found Leanne Slevin her lobbed effort fell just wide – a let-off for Donegal.

But Donegal finished the half strongly and three super points from Guthrie had the home side 0-05 to 0-02 in front at the break.

A point from Guthrie got Donegal up and running again shortly after the restart, and midway through the second-half, Shannon McGroddy hammered to the net to put the game beyond Westmeath’s reach.

Megan Ryan added a point for the home side but when Johanna Maher drilled home a Westmeath goal it was back to a four-point game.

Guthrie soon knocked over her sixth point to settle Donegal, but Leanne Slevin landed another free to set up an exciting finish.

However, Donegal just held on to return to winning ways after that heavy defeat in Cork last week, and their fifth wins from six games has them on a high ahead of their clash with leaders Galway in a fortnight's time and a semi-final two weeks' later.

Donegal: A Mc Colgan, AM McGlynn, E Gallagher, E McGinley, T Doherty, N McLaughlin, N Carr, K Herron, N Boyle, K Guthrie (0-06), N Hegarty, A Boyle-Carr (0-01), S McGinty, M Ryan (0-01), R Friel.

Subs: S McGroddy (1-00) for McGinty (h-t),  T Hegarty for Gallagher (52mins) C Grant for Friel (55mins).

Westmeath: L McCormack, R Dillon, J Rogers, F Coyle, K Boyce-Jordan, K McDermott, A O Malley, F Claffey (0-01), J Maher (1-00), C Kelly, L Brennan, L Slevin (0-03), K Hegarty, J Hennessy, S Dolan. 

Subs: A Dolan for Hennessey (25), A Ruane for Slevin (29), Slevin for Kelly (h-t), Hennessey for Dolan (49) N Mc Dermott for Brennan (52), M Brick for Ruane (54).

Referee: M Kenny (Mayo).