Mr. Kelly was speaking after the presentation of the Roadstone --sponsored Cumann na mBunscol National Awards in Dublin over the weekend.
Mr Kelly emphasised the importance of the primary school in fostering children's love of gaelic games.
"It's the first port of call once the kids go outside their own home. It's at that level that the seeds are sown.
"You'll find that players, be it club level or county level right up to national level, nearly always go back to a teacher who influenced them and encouraged them. That's really what you get at Cumann na mBunscol, and particularly within the schools where they have their own competitions.
"For years the male folk in the GAA were inclined to look at the idea of women getting involved in national schools and the preponderance of women teachers was something to be feared.
"In actual fact, women have proved that once they get a bit of support and encouragement they can do as good if not a better job than the men. We saw from the award presentations this weekend that in several schools, the women were leading the charge. Now, it's up to ourselves as an organisation to give them the support that they require.
"I think we have an awful lot to learn from the whole female population about how to do things in a professional and dedicated manner. Those in the national schools are doing tremendous work," he said.
*The award winners: Hurling/Camogie Initiative: 1 -Dublin; 2 Sligo; 3 Leinster.
Football Initiative: 1 -Cork; 2 Armagh; 3 Waterford.
County Publication: 1 Cork; 2 Limerick; 3 -Clare.
Fixtures/Information Booklet: 1 Dublin; 2 Antrim; 3 Wicklow.
Public Relations: 1 Sligo; 2 Armagh; 3 Wicklow.
Provincial Merit Awards St. John's, Eglish, Co. Armagh, Limerick, Leitrim and Offaly.
Cumann na mBunscol of the Year Urban: 1 Edmund Rice, Belfast; 2 Beaumont, Cork; 3 Sundays Well, Cork.
Do Rural: 1 Corranny, Roslea, Co. Fermanagh; 2 St. Anne's, Rathangan, Co. Wexford; 3 Carrowholly, Westport ,Co. Mayo.