The number eight has endured a challenging first RBS 6 Nations in charge after replacing Leinster colleague Brian O'Driscoll as skipper before the championship. Harebrained defeats to England and Scotland have meant toppling France at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday is essential to escape a likely wooden-spoon showdown with Italy a week later.
Heaslip's own performances have been criticised, as has the rudderless look to Ireland during spells of the Six Nations, but the 29-year-old insists results cut more deeply than any vilification from outside the camp. "In 2008 I stopped listening to or reading the rugby side of sport and I can't wait to start again when I finish rugby," he said.
"But when I'm playing I don't pay attention to it.
"The captaincy has been great, I've loved it. You obviously have to do more of the media and you do feel more responsible for the team.
"When you come off the field as a player you analyse your own game, but as a captain you feel more responsible for the team.
"When I came off the pitch against Scotland I was quite happy with the way I played, with my carries and getting through quite a bit of work.
"But then as a team I'm disappointed that we lost, so it's a weird one. You have to think about the others.
"I never like to lose, but you do take the defeats a lot more personally when you're captain.
"It weighs on your shoulders more because you feel that little bit more responsible."
- Sports & Recreation