Wesmeath 0-9 Donegal 1-13, Cusack Park
Denis Glennon carried the fight for Westmeath with five points but Donegal's greater firepower saw them win out at Cusack Park this afternoon.
The Tir Chonaill men took their time to get going - Michael Murphy had their first point in the 18th minute - and Westmeath were still leading 0-6 to 0-5 at half-time.
But when Murphy passed for his captain Kevin Cassidy to ram home the only goal of the game, Donegal simply took over with free-taker Colm McFadden taking his tally to 0-6.
These two sides were relegated from the top flight last year, with Westmeath losing all eight of their league games.
Now managed by Monaghan native Brendan Hackett, Westmeath, according to their new boss, are 'very much in a process of transition' and consolidating their position in Division 2 will be their main aim.
For Donegal, who last weekend retained the Dr McKenna Cup, they were sluggish in the opening quarter-hour today but when they went up through the gears, John Joe Doherty's charges showed the benefit of their early season training and that unbeaten Ulster run.
A terrific left-footed point from target man Glennon doubled Westmeath's advantage in the ninth minute, and the Lakesiders cantered into a 0-5 to 0-0 lead over the pre-match favourites.
Gavin Hoey added his name to the scoresheet along with free-taker Paul Greville, while Glennon took his tally to 0-3 with another raking effort from the right wing.
However, a more plentiful supply of possession saw Donegal awake from their slumber with free-takers Murphy and McFadden, newcomer Adrian Hanlon and substitute Conal Dunne all registering points.
Glennon and McFadden traded scores as the first half came to a close, but most importantly for the visitors, Westmeath's five-point advantage after 13 minutes had been whittled down to just one by the break.
The game's second major twist arrived just two minutes into the second half when Cassidy raided forward from midfield and took a pass from Murphy before cracking a well-placed shot beyond the reach of Westmeath goalkeeper Gary Connaughton.
With Glennon forced off with an injury, Westmeath were soon robbed of their attacking talisman and Donegal showed little mercy as Murphy, Hanlon and McFadden strung together point after point - they hit six without replay.
McFadden finished with 0-6 (0-4f) and Murphy 0-3, while Glennon was fit enough to return and chalk up his fifth point of an entertaining encounter.