And his form was rewarded by Schmidt with a spot on the replacements' bench of Samoa visit to the Aviva Stadium - Ireland's first of the 2013 autumn internationals.
Kearney had to wait patiently for his international berth but he came off the bench with 20 minutes to play and grabbed himself a pair of tries.
The first was laid on by brother Rob, before he claimed a second in the dying moments, and Schmidt admitted it is a moment Kearney will remember forever.
"The one from the scrum, where Dave Kearney managed to finish it in his first game for Ireland - I think that will be a special moment for him," said Schmidt.
"I thought the drive for the first try was top drawer and a couple of other tries."
Another Leinster player making his Ireland debut was loose-head prop Jack McGrath, who started in place of RaboDirect PRO12 teammate and British & Irish Lion Cian Healy.
The 24-year-old played for an hour, before making way for Healy, and Schmidt was pleased with his display.
"Jack started really well," he added. "We asked a fair bit of him, putting him out for the first 20 of the second half as well.
"He hasn't had a huge amount of game time lately but we felt we had to get that running into his legs and he didn't disappoint us."