But it was his former team-mate TJ Ryan that enjoyed an opening win to the season in the new Munster Senior Hurling League with Limerick.
In the end there was 11 points between the sides in the Gaelic Grounds but Carey and his coach Mark Foley (also Limerick) will be happy that their charges stayed battling and hit the last six scores of the game, which was watched by 653 spectators.
While it was the start of an new and exciting era for Kerry, there was also much change in the Limerick ranks.
They lined out with five of September’s All Ireland winning U21 hurlers in the team, while another two were introduced as subs.
Limerick set the early pace and were 1-8 to 0-3 ahead on 17 minutes when a David Reidy goal had the home side comfortable. Leading the way were Tom Morrissey and Declan Hannon, who were both to end the day with five points.
Hannon almost had a first-half goal but Aidan McCabe made a fine save in the 16th minute.
But Kerry were powerless to stop Limerick opening a 12-point lead by half-time with debut boy Diarmaid Byrnes among eight different scorers for Limerick.
TJ Ryan’s side extended the lead on the change of ends and within 15 minutes of the restart it was 1-20 to 0-10.
Then came the second goal. It was sub Michael Ryan who raised the green flag with Reidy close at hand to ensure McCabe was beaten in the Kerry goal.
Very soon the advantage was 17 points for Limerick.
Credit Kerry, led by Shane Nolan and John Griffin they battled to the end and would have had a 63rd minute goal but for a save from new Limerick captain Nicky Quaid.
D Reidy (1-4); D Hannon (1f), T Morrissey (0-5 each); M Ryan (1-0); S Tobin (0-3, 1f); D Byrnes (0-2, 1 free, 1 65); G O’Mahony, J Fitzgibbon, P Browne, Darragh O’Donovan (0-1 each).
S Nolan (0-8, 5f, 1 ‘65); J Griffin (0-3); P Lucid, B O’Leary (0-2 each), K Carmody, P O’Connor, M O’Leary (0-1 each).
N Quaid; S Finn, D Morrissey, R English; P O’Brien, D Byrnes, S Hickey; J Fitzgibbon, P Browne; D O’Donovan, G O’Mahony, T Morrissey; S Tobin, D Hannon, D Reidy.
B Nash for O’Mahony (35), K O’Rourke for English (35), P Ryan for Browne (47), M Ryan for Hannon (49), M Reidy for O’Brien (61).
A McCabe; B Murphy, S Weir, J Buckley; J O’Connor, T Casey, D Collins; J Griffin, P O’Connor; C Harty, B O’Leary, S Nolan; K Carmody, M O’Leary, P Lucid.
J Conway for Lucid (35), J Diggins for Buckley (35), G Stackpoole for O’Connor (53).
J McCormack (Tipperary).