Ireland hockey: We can do something big in Tokyo - captain Katie Mullan

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Ireland realise Olympic dream after penalty drama

Ireland hockey captain Katie Mullan says her side can "ruffle a few feathers" in Tokyo next year.

Sean Dancer's team became the first Irish women's team to qualify for an Olympics by defeating Canada in a dramatic shootout on Sunday.

They will be among 12 nations looking to claim a hockey medal in Japan next summer.

"There's no reason why we can't do some damage and even look for something big in Tokyo," said Mullan.

"If we keep progressing the way we are with Sean and his style of play I've no doubt that we'll do a good job."

3-1 down in the shootout after three efforts each, it looked as though Ireland's Olympic dream was set to be dashed in agonising fashion.

However, as was the case in last year's World Cup shootout wins over India and Spain, goalkeeper Ayeisha McFerran rose to the occasion to help force the contest into sudden death.

The victory sparked emotional scenes at Energia Park as Ireland completed the job despite being far from their best during the two-legged tie.

"We're going to really enjoy this moment for a couple of weeks," Mullan said.

Katie Mullan
Mullan has captained Ireland to a World Cup final and Olympic qualification

"We have put so much effort into this and made so many sacrifices."

The Irish Olympic squad is likely to be predominantly feature players who were present during their fairytale run to the World Cup final in London, a journey which catapulted the team and indeed the sport into the spotlight in Ireland.

"When we qualified for the World Cup we didn't necessarily quality as one of the top teams," reflected Mullan.

"We proved that we can take anyone in the world on.

"We'll be hoping to do the same."