The Kingdom players did not appear to be unsettled by the row that raged in the county all week following manager John Meyler’s decision to drop three of the four Boyle brothers.
In a tight first quarter, Paddy Farrell and Shane Nolan swapped goals but Kerry’s crispness came to the fore and in corner-forward Shane Brick, they had a match winner.
Wicklow were only four points adrift, 1-10 to 1-6 at the break, but Kerry pulled away in the second half and Shane Nolan added a second goal to his three points.
Scorers for Kerry: S Brick 0-10 (4fs, 2 65s), S Nolan 2-3, J Flaherty 0-3, D Dineen 0-2, A O’Connor, C Harty, D O’Connell, PJ Connolly 0-1 each.
Scorers for Wicklow: A O’Brien 0-4fs, J O’Neill 0-3 (2fs), P Farrell 1-0, T Doyle, E Glynn 0-2 each, C Moorehouse 0-1.
KERRY: B Rochford; R Horgan, P Costello, B Murphy; A O’Connor, M Lynch, J Griffin; W O’Dwyer, D O’Connell; C Harty, G O’Brien, D Dineen; S Brick, A Boyle, S Nolan.
Subs: P Connolly for G O’Brien, J Flaherty for C Harty, J Casey for M Lynch, D Wallace for A O’Connor, J Fitzgerald for R Horgan.
WICKLOW: J Murphy; Jim Connors, G Keogh, E Dunne; T Doyle, B Cuddihy, G Bermingham; E Kearns, R Keddy; John Connors, S Kelly, P Farrell; E Glynn, J O’Neill, A O’Brien.
Subs: C Moorehouse for J O’Neill, W O’Gorman for P Farrell, E O’Neill for E Dunne, P Gahan for R Keddy.
Referee: P Murphy (Carlow).