Former Mayo forward John Casey hopes All-Ireland final replay referee Maurice Deegan can see through what he calls a "desperate attempt" by Dublin to put Lee Keegan under the microscope.

The Mayo defender's battle with Blues forward Diarmuid Connolly was one of the highlights of the drawn game, but Keegan's physical play has come in for plenty of criticism in the intervening days.

The pair are again expected to provide a flashpoint in Saturday's replay, but Casey is convinced that former Dublin players have been attempting to give Connolly the advantage in the eyes of the officials.

"The build-up to the game seems to be all about Lee Keegan being vilified, which I find extraordinary," Casey said on RTÉ 2fm's Game On.

"For any outsider looking in, it looks like it's being planned and coordinated. In the papers every day this week, there has been a former Dublin player having a cut at Keegan, highlighting the way he plays on the edge.

"You have to think that is directed towards match referee Maurice Deegan. [Keegan's] an unbelievable player and it's bordering on ridiculous, the way he's being vilified.

"Are you going to tell me that Philly McMahon isn't going to have tug of Aidan O'Shea's jersey next Saturday evening, or that Johnny Cooper isn't going to antagonise Andy Moran?

"Of course they are. It's the way football is being played."

Casey cited Keegan's excellent disciplinary record in defence of the 26-year-old Westport man, hoping that his duel with Connolly is allowed to play itself out.

"It's an amazing sideshow and a desperate attempt by Dublin to highlight Keegan. But it happens, it's football. Everybody tries to antagonise each other to get the upper hand," Casey said.

"Lee Keegan has an impeccable disciplinary record. He was sent off once in an All-Ireland semi-final against Kerry and it was rescinded because the referee made a mistake.

"He plays on the edge, he's a born winner. I hope Maurice Deegan doesn't buy into this Dublin propaganda machine. 

"It's all a bit daft, I just wish, from a Mayo point of view and Diarmuid Connolly and Lee Keegan's point of view, they'd let them go out and play each other. It's a brilliant, brilliant spectacle, it's like McGregor-Diaz, it's what we want to watch."