By Daniel Etchells

Ireland captain Megan Frazer receives the HWL Round 2 trophy from President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins ©FIH/Adrian BoehmHosts Ireland held their nerve in a shoot-out against Canada to win the Hockey World League (HWL) Round 2 title in Dublin.

Aine Connery scored the decisive goal to earn the nation ranked 14th in the world a 4-3 final victory, with the teams deadlocked at 1-1 after normal time. 

Ireland's Nikki Evans and Canada's Holly Stewart both netted close range goals from penalty corners in the third quarter.

Shot-stopper Ayeisha McFerran, 19, played a key role in the Green Army's success, saving Canada's fifth penalty with a superb display of agility.

The win, played out in front of a capacity crowd that included Irish President Michael D Higgins, ensures Ireland's place in the semi-finals of the HWL and keeps their hopes of an Olympic place at Rio 2016 alive. 

"The girls were really excited for the final and it was good spectacle," said Ireland coach Darren Smith.

"Canada did a good job but we got the result in the end.

"World League 2, from my perspective, was a great advertisement for hockey and a lot of fun."

Ireland will continue their bid for Olympic qualification at the HWL semi-finals in Valencia from June 10 to 21 ©FIH/FacebookIreland will continue their bid for Olympic qualification at the HWL semi-finals in Valencia from June 10 to 21 ©FIH/Facebook

By reaching the Round 2 final, Canada also qualified for the HWL semi-final event, due to be held in Valencia from June 10 to 21.

Canada, 22nd in the world rankings, outperformed higher ranked nations Belarus, 18th, and Chile, 20th, who both contested the bronze medal match.

Belarus went into the game knowing that a win would be enough for them to qualify for the semi-finals as the highest-ranked third-placed finisher, something that Chile could not achieve due to their lower ranking than Azerbaijan, who finished third at the event in Montevideo earlier this year.

But it was the Chileans who came out 3-2 winners as the competition's top scorer Daniela Caram netted what proved to be the decisive goal just after half time.

A total of seven qualification places for the HWL semi-finals were available from the Round 2 events in Montevideo, New Delhi and Dublin.

The top two finishers from each were all certain to qualify for the semi-finals, along with the highest-ranked nation of the third-placed finishers.

Italy and Uruguay confirmed their semi-final places in Montevideo, while India and Poland secured their berths in New Delhi.

Azerbaijan, 19th in the world rankings, are the seventh and final team to qualify as a consequence of their superior ranking to fellow third-placed finishers Chile and Malaysia, who are ranked 21st.

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Hosts Ireland to face Canada in Dublin Hockey World League Round 2 final