A goal two minutes after half-time from Seanie Furlong was the decisive score at Aughrim as Wicklow saw off Longford, 1-15 to 0-16, to advance to a meeting with Meath next month.
Longford did not make use of the strong wind in the opening half and were in trouble when they trailed by 0-09 to 0-05 at the interval.
Longford rallied after conceding the restart but the closest they got was to within two points but Wicklow held on for victory.
Wicklow laid the foundation for their first win of 2013 with a great start.
The opted to play against the wind and fell behind for the only time in the game when Sean McCormack pointed an early free for Longford.
James Stafford was superb around the middle of the field and Wicklow’s passing was top class as they carved open the visitors with excellent use of the ball.
John McGrath, Stafford, Dean Healy, Furlong and Kelly all found the range in a blistering spell for Wicklow to lead by 0-05 to 0-01 after nine minutes.
Paul Barden, Robbie Smyth and McCormack pulled back points for Longford but Wicklow finished the half strongly with Kelly, Furlong and Patrick McWalter finding the range.
Longford started the second-half well with a point from sub Donal McElligott but then they were rocked when Darren Hayden and Darragh O’Sullivan combined to set Furlong up for the decisive score of the day.
In fairness, Longford hit back impressively and McCormack landed three points in succession.
Once more it was left to Furlong to provide the Wicklow response and Harry Murphy’s men always looked capable of hitting for crucial scores any time Longford got within striking distance.
The tempo of the game continued to increase in the final quarter but the goal Longford needed just did not materialise with Wicklow goalkeeper John Flynn doing well to smother an effort from Francis McGee.
Longford never gave up but Stafford and Furlong put four between them in the dying moments and the closing efforts from McGee and McCormack were not enough to save the day for Longford.
Wicklow: J Flynn; C Hyland, D Power, A Byrne; D Hayden, P McWalter (0-01), D Healy (0-02); A McLoughlin (0-01), J Stafford (0-02); J Kelly (0-02), R Finn, D O’Sullivan; B McCrea, S Furlong (1-05, 0-01f), J McGrath (0-02).
Subs: A O’Malley for McCrea 53 mins; P Dalton for Kelly 53 mins.
Longford: D Sheridan; D Brady, B Gilleran, D Reilly; C Smyth, M Quinn, S Mulligan; J Keegan (0-01), M Brady; B McElvaney (0-01), P Barden (0-02), P McCormack; R Smyth (0-01), F McGee (0-02), S McCormack (0-06, 0-03f).
Subs: D McElligott (0-02) for Quinn 19 mins; A Rowan for Brady 28 mins; F Battrim for C Smyth 42 mins; JJ Matthews (0-01) for R Smyth 54 mins; N Mulligan for McElliogott 67 mins.
Referee: B Cassidy (Derry).