In a further boost, Ireland back Fergus McFadden and second row Quinn Roux have recovered from their respective injuries to take their places in the starting line-up.
Ian Madigan starts at out-half and will partner fellow Ireland international Isaac Boss at half-back, with Noel Reid joining O'Driscoll in the centre.
Heaslip, who will make his 167th appearance in Leinster colours, is named in the back row alongside Rhys Ruddock (earning his 62nd cap) and Dominic Ryan (his 49th).
Over 15,800 tickets have now been sold for Friday's game. Tickets are still on sale from www.leinsterrugby.ie, Spar Donnybrook as well as Ticketmaster outlets nationwide.
There will also be Ticketmaster booths open from 5.30pm on Friday on Anglesea Road and Simmonscourt Road.
LEINSTER (v Cardiff Blues): Rob Kearney; Fergus McFadden, Brian O'Driscoll, Noel Reid, David Kearney; Ian Madigan, Isaac Boss; Cian Healy, Sean Cronin, Martin Moore, Devin Toner, Quinn Roux, Rhys Ruddock, Dominic Ryan, Jamie Heaslip (capt).
Replacements: Aaron Dundon, Jack McGrath, Mike Ross, Tom Denton, Jordi Murphy, John Cooney, Jimmy Gopperth, Brendan Macken.