Having drawn with Derry in the opening round, the Kingdom upped their performance to the satisfaction of Kelly, who sees the league as valuable preparation for the Christy Ring Cup.
“We were very static in our performance against Derry the previous week and we worked on that during the week,” he said.
“It is very tough to come to Arklow and get a result and I am very happy with this win,” he said.
It did not taken long for a physically stronger and fitter Kerry to get into their stride, opening up their opponents and punishing slack marking.
Ace-free-taker Shane Nolan was on song as he fired over five points, three from frees and another from a 65, while centre-forward Sean Weir applied the clinical finish to a searing run by Mikey Boyle to crash to the net and give his team a 1-8 to 0-2 lead at half-time.
With a gusting wind behind them, Wicklow looked as if they might stage a fightback in the second half as Anto Byrne goaled from close range and Jonathan O’Neill followed up with a point from a free – cutting the gap to five points in the space of five minutes.
But the recovery evaporated as Kerry hit back immediately for an answering second goal by Weir.
To add to Wicklow’s woes, they were reduced to 13
players in that second half as forwards Mikey Lee and Diarmuid Masterson were both sent off on the back of second yellow cards.
Scorers for Kerry: S Nolan 0-7 (five frees, one 65), S Weir 2-1, M Boyle, M O’Leary, P Boyle 0-2 each, K Carmody, P Lucid, J Griffin, C Harty, J Flaherty, B O’Leary.
Scorers for Wicklow: A Byrne 1-0, M Lee (frees) and A O’Brien (one free) 0-2 each, J O’Neill 0-1 (free), J Connors 0-1.
KERRY: J Logue; D Fitzell, P Kelly, P Costello; D Shanahan, B Murphy, T Casey; J Griffin, P Lucid; S Nolan, S Weir, D Royle, M Boyle; M O’Leary, K Carmody. Subs: C Harty for K Carmody (46), Carmody for P Costello (49), J Flaherty for P Lucid (54), B O’Leary for A Royle (58), P Boyle for S Nolan (60m).
WICKLOW: T Kennedy; T Doyle, B Cuddihy, M O’Brien; E Dunne, J Henderson, L Kennedy; S Byrne, J Connors; C Moorehouse, J O’Neill, A Byrne; M Lee, A O’Brien, D Staunton. Subs: P Keane for M O’Brien (half-time), D Masterson for J Connors (48), G Weir for L Kennedy (58), P Doran for C Moorehouse (63), J Byrne for J O’Neill (63m).
Referee: S Cleere (Kilkenny).