Roisin Upton said that Ireland women's team qualifying for the Olympics for the first time felt "20 million times better" than she imagined it would.
Ireland beat Canada in a dramatic shootout in Dublin to secure a place in the 2020 Games in Tokyo.
Upton revealed on Tuesday that she took her shootouts while suffering from a broken wrist.
She scored in sudden-death to help Ireland win the two-legged qualifier after both games ended 0-0.
"I had tried to imagine what this moment might feel like," she said.
"And, to be honest, it's 20 million times better. There is nothing I can say to put into words what this means.
"This has been centuries in the making. It hasn't just been this group of girls or this management team or the last 10 years.
"It's been the likes of Eimear Cregan and Clio Sargent, former players and idols that I grew up looking up to.
"The list could go on - it's for the whole hockey community of Ireland. It's unbelievable and I just cannot wait for the Olympics now."
Canada took the ascendancy in Sunday evening's shootout at Donnybrook, going into a 3-1 lead after both sides had taken three each.
Ireland keeper Ayeisha McFerran then made two saves, with Bethany Barr and Chloe Watkins scoring to force sudden death.
Upton, who had missed her first shootout, scored before Amanda Woodcroft failed to get her shot away within eight seconds, meaning Ireland secured qualification.
"I just tried to stay as focused as I could and not think about what it meant," Upton said of her sudden death penalty.
"My first one didn't go to plan too much as I tried to take it round her, but I tried to stay composed for the second one and luckily it went in."