A pair of own goals from Carlow IT full-back Conor Lawlor helped Wicklow to victory at Blessington.
Both sides showed major signs of early-season ring rust here, with Wicklow fielding less than half of last year's championship team, including two newcomers at senior level in Ross O'Brien at centre-back and Conor Foley at wing-forward.
The students drew first blood with the opening point by corner-forward Tom Shields after just two minutes, but John McGrath equalised for Wicklow before the home side moved ahead 0-3 to 0-2 at the end of the opening quarter.
Barry McHugh netted a penalty on 29 minutes as the College side eased back into the lead at 1-4 to 0-6.
But just before the break Carlow IT gifted Wicklow the first goal when Lawlor, in attempting to redirect a shot by Wicklow's Danny Woods, punched the ball into the corner of his own net, giving the Garden County a 1-8 to 1-6 half-time advantage.
Wicklow never really succeeded in shaking off the students even though McGrath was impressive at full-forward.
But they had something of a scare when they were reduced to 14 men for the last 13 minutes after Dean Healy was sent off for a second yellow card.
It took another lucky goal on 60 minutes to seal the win - this time a Ross O'Brien shot looped to the net, again coming off the hands of Lawlor.
Wicklow's new manager John Magee was happy with the win considering a number of "new faces" were on board, but conceded that the hosts had made life difficult for themselves.
Scorers: Wicklow: C Lawlor 2-0 (OGs), J McGrath 0-6 (5f), T Kelly 0-2, D Healy 0-2, D Woods 0-1, P McLoughlin 0-1, D Odlum 0-1. Carlow IT: B McHugh 2-4, T Sheil 0-3 (2f), W Young 0-1, B Murphy 0-1.
Wicklow: R Lambert; A Byrne, P Cunningham, M Staines; D Healy, R O'Brien, C Murphy; A McLoughlin, P. McLoughlin; C Foley, S Kelly, D Woods; D Odlum, J McGrath, T Kelly. Subs: C McCrea for Foley, J Snell for Staines.
Carlow IT: S Murphy; T O'Connell, C Lawlor, D Smith; C Ward, A Forde, E Lynch; B Murphy, T Nolan; K Ryan, W Young, T Dever;T Sheil, R O'Brien, B McHugh. Subs: C Healy for O'Brien, I. Ilunga for Dever, G Harmon for Smith, J Hendy for Ryan.
Referee: D Moore (Laois).