Eoghan Harris: Tiger-tamed FF forgot how to go for the jugular
Faced with the Government's open goal, the stands packed with private-sector workers calling on them to sink the Budget ball in the back of the net, Fianna Fail fluffed the shot and surrendered the top media slots to Sinn Fein strikers.
True, Senator Darragh O'Brien put in a strong show in the RTE studio, putting a peevish Pat Rabbitte in second place. But Michael McGrath's carefully crafted Dail speech lacked power and passion. Sean Fleming's is best forgotten.
Pat McParland, the party's hard-working director of communications, may be tempted to blame RTE for favouring Sinn Fein. Normally he would have a case. RTE is far too fond of teeing up an alleged "opposition reaction", which too often turns out to be only a Sinn Fein reaction.