BRIAN Lenihan and Mary Hanafin were outcasts in Fianna Fail today after failing to hit Brian Cowen with a fatal blow.
The two Dublin politicians are facing an unprecedented backlash from the backbench TDs and voters.
One Fianna Fail TD told the Herald: "She (Hanafin) f***ing bottled it. She crawled out under the door."
Such is the damage to their reputations that sources say they now face a massive uphill struggle to hold onto their seats in the General Election.
Despite quitting as Foreign Affairs Minister, Micheal Martin has firmly placed himself as the likely successor to Brian Cowen as party leader after the election.
A meek Ms Hanafin refused to tell her colleagues if she had confidence in the Taoiseach, instead muttering that she would "vote in accordance with the conversation I had with the Taoiseach last week".
She now faces the possibility of being dumped from Cabinet as Mr Cowen considers promoting younger TDs as part of a minor reshuffle.
The Government Chief Whip today denied that a deal was done with Brian Lenihan to ensure that he would pledge support for the Taoiseach.
Sources suggested that Mr Cowen gave the impression that he would support the Finance Minister for the leadership in the future.
However, backbench TDs claim that Mr Lenihan has taken a "two-faced" approach to the issue.
As frequently reported in the Herald, backbench TDs linked to Mr Lenihan were doing most of the behind-the-scenes muttering about Mr Cowen.
They are now "totally disillusioned" that he didn't give the public his honest view of Mr Cowen's leadership.
Mr Lenihan was desperately pleading his case with TDs last night but some of his staunchest supporters weren't interested in listening.
A source said: "It's hard to take. People were putting their own necks on the line for him and then he did a total u-turn. His radio interview was car crash stuff."
Fine Gael has now stepped up its pressure on the Coalition to call a General Election.
IT began with a handshake at dawn and ended with a pyrrhic victory under a full moon. In between, it was punctuated by spectacular, potentially career-damaging own goals by two of the country's would-be Taoisigh. Yes, it was a funny old day in Leinster House.