Andy O'Brien saved a crucial late penalty as Carlow shrugged off two red cards to carve out a battling victory in Bray.
The visitors were first out of the blocks and raced into a 0-5 to 0-1 lead in the first 20 minutes, with two of those points fired over by enterprising corner-forward Brian Murphy.
But then they gifted Austin O'Malley and free-taker Matty Byrne two soft scores, and Wicklow hit back to draw level at 0-6 apiece on 35 minutes. Willie Minchin curled over a neat point in first-half injury-time to send Carlow in for the break leading 0-7 to 0-6.
Ten minutes into the second half Carlow had their midfielder Dara Foley sent off and he was followed to the line by Shane Mernagh nine minutes later.
However, points by Minchin and Danny St Ledger gave them the cushion to withstand a late Wicklow rally, which included Byrne's penalty miss.
Scorers – Carlow: Brian Muphy 0-3, D St Ledger, W Minchin, D Foley 0-2 each, E Ruth, A Kelly, Brendan Murphy 0-1 each. Wicklow: M Byrne 0-4, James Sheerin 0-2, A O'Malley, E Keogh, M Doyle 0-1 each.
Carlow – A O'Brien; BJ Molloy, S Redmond, K Byrne; C Nolan, S Mernagh, M Doyle; D Foley, E Ruth; D Hayden, P Reid, L Minchin; Brian Murphy, A Kelly, D St Ledger Subs: Brendan Murphy for P Reid, R Walker for Brian Murphy.
Wicklow – C Byrne; B Murphy, D Power, K Hanson; P McLoughlin, M McLoughlin, K Murphy; C Tyrrell, J Sheerin; B Kennedy, D O'Sullivan, E Dunne; M Byrne, M Doyle, A O'Malley. Subs: E Keogh for C Tyrrrell, R Nolan for B Kennedy, I Sheerin for K Hanlon, P Dalton for E Dunne, J Kelly for M McLoughlin.
Ref – B Cawley (Kildare).