Carlow made light of adversity when, having had two men sent off in the space of a few second-half minutes, they turned a one-point half-time deficit into an eight-point win at Dr Cullen Park yesterday.
Carlow took 15 minutes to record their opening score from a long-range free by centre-back Dwayne Kavanagh. Kerry had scored the game's opening three points through Liam Boyle, John Egan and Michael Boyle.
Carlow's Mark Brennan put the home side ahead on 21 minutes when the Naomh Brid clubman batted the ball to the Kerry net.
Kerry's goal arrived in first-half injury-time from substitute Ronan Kenny; they led 1-8 to 1-7 at half-time.
Carlow hit the ground running in the second half with unanswered points from Andrew Gaule, Mark Brennan and Eddie Byrne.
On 39 minutes, Carlow broke away and Eddie Byrne was put in on goal. The Mount Leinster Rangers clubman kicked to the Kerry net to make it 2-10 to 1-8.
But in the space of a few minutes, Byrne went from hero to villain, receiving two yellow cards from Wexford referee Sean Whelan. He was quickly followed by Craig Doyle, who got a straight red for a rash challenge on Kerry full-back James Godley.
Carlow remained in charge for the remainder of the game, with Paudie Kehoe, Brennan, Gaule and substitute Killian McCabe keeping the scoreboard ticking over.
Kerry were reduced to 14 men late on when right full-back Andre Keane was issued with a straight red for a tackle on Kehoe. But by then the points were safe for Carlow.
Man of the Match: Paudie Kehoe (Carlow)
Scorers -- Carlow: P Kehoe 0-6 (4f), M Brennan, E Byrne 1-2 each, A Gaule 0-3, D Kavanagh (1f), J Kavanagh, C Doyle, K McCabe 0-1 each. Kerry: M Boyle, D O'Connell (3f) 0-3 each, R Kenny 1-0, L Boyle, M Conway (1f, 1 '65') 0-2 each, A Royle, J Egan 0-1 each.
Carlow -- K Kehoe 7; A Corcoran 8, S Kavanagh 8, J O'Hara 7; E Coady 7, D Kavanagh 7, R Coady 7; E Nolan 6, J Kavanagh 7; P Kehoe 8, M Brennan 8, C Doyle 8; A Gaule 8, E Byrne 8, A McDonald 6. Subs: D English 6 for McDonald 6 (41), H P O'Byrne for Gaule (67), K McCabe for English (70), A Brennan for Kehoe (70).
Kerry -- B Rochford 7; A Keane 7, J Godley 7, C Harris 7; A Royle 8, T Murnane 7, P O'Grady 7; M Conway 7, D Dineen 6; D O'Connell 6, M Boyle 8, L Boyle 7; J Egan 6, A Boyle 6, J Griffin. Subs: R Kenny 7 for Griffin 8, E Corridan 6 for Godley 6 (48), J Flaherty 6 for O'Connell 6 (48), G O'Brien 6 for Egan 6 (55).
Ref -- S Whelan (Wexford).